The new Medmerry bird reserve & hidden river channels
This section of the South Coast Path changed dramatically in 2013 when the sea defence was deliberately breached. As a result the Birdham - Selsey coast path was extended by over 6km when the new Medmerry scheme was implemented.
The sea has been allowed to return to the land as part of the Environment Agency's revised coastal management policy. Medmerry is now managed by the RSPB.
The old sea bank was deliberately breached to allow the sea back to the land it once used to wash.
The stage is described below walking west to east (prevailing wind behind) - but can be walked in either direction.
Description of the walk
The walk starts Birdham, near the marina and a short walk from the Birdham Stores bus stop. It is another genuinely "flat stage" but quite long, especially now the diversion around Medmerry has been added. Originally this stage was 20.1 km.
From Birdham the route mostly hugs the southern edge of Chichester Harbour and beyond Itchenor the waters edge is always close by. This channel would have been well used by the Romans to reach Fishbourne Palace at the northern end of the channel from the open sea at West Wittering.