This is a figure-of-eight walk taking in one the largest marinas in the country and the tiny village of Dell Quay which was once a busy commercial port.
The copse is an eight acre woodland adjacent to the shoreline of Chichester Harbour on Apuldram Manor Farm. It is the largest ancient woodland remnant on the Manhood Peninsula and is of great ecological interest. The area is managed by coppicing. It is divided into ten sections which are coppiced in rotation. Trees such as hazel are cut back to the ground leaving the 'stool' to grow new stems sometimes as many as 30-50. Here at the Copse, these stems are used for conservation work.
The marina was opened in 1966 with eight pontoons. Further pontoons were added in 1968 and 1970. It can now berth 1071 boats and is the second largest marina in the country.
The canal runs from the city of Chichester down to the Harbour, ending at the lock gates by Chichester Yacht Club. It was opened in 1823 as part of a larger canal scheme to carry cargo between London and Portsmouth. Competition from the railways meant that the canal was never commercially viable and it fell into disuse by 1906.
Boats can no longer navigate the length of the canal as two roads cut across it. However West Sussex County Council hope to re-open the canal through to the sea by 2010. A footpath runs alongside the 4km canal and would make a nice extension of this walk into Chichester. To pick up the path, cross the A286 at the Marina entrance and you will see the canal path opposite you.
The trail starts at the visitors' car park at Chichester Marina, Birdham. From the A27 take the A286 south of Chichester towards the Witterings. After about 2 miles turn right into Chichester Marina. The visitors' car park is the first one you come to on the right. By Bus take service 52 or 53 from Chichester to the Witterings. Ask for the Chichester Marina bus stop.