Bracklesham Bay is a 200-hectare (500-acre) biological and geological Site of Special Scientific Interest in West Sussex. It is a coastal bay on the west side of the Manhood Peninsula known for windsurfing, kitesurfing, and scuba diving in the wrecks off the shore. The bay looks out onto the English Channel and the Isle of Wight is visible from the beach, as is the Nab Tower lighthouse and the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth.
Bracklesham Bay is a bay on the southwest coast of the Manhood Peninsular. The villages of Bracklesham, East Wittering and West Wittering are on or close to the shore. The majority of the shore is shingle bank with exposed sand at low tide and forms part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) up to and including the Medmerry Nature reserve near Selsey. West Wittering is known for sandy beaches.
Road access is from the A286 from Chichester to Birdham. The B2198 and B2179 then form a loop round the villages. The nearest petrol station is at Birdham. When closed the next closest are at Siddlesham and Chichester.
A high-frequency bus service operates from Chichester (the closest rail station) and Birdham up to every 15 minutes. The Stagecoach South service 52 loops via Bracklesham, East Wittering and West Wittering, the service 53 loops via the reverse route. Compass service 150 also passes through the area from Selsey very infrequently.
A cycle route, Salterns Way, goes from Chichester to West Wittering then to the sand dunes of East Head. A portion of the cycle route is along busy roads. Access to West Itchenor is also possible from a small pedestrian and cycle ferry from Old Bosham.
The service 52 bus is up to half-hourly clockwise through Bracklesham, East Wittering and West Wittering on the B2179 road. The 53 bus traverses the villages counter clockwise.
A local taxi and minicab service is available, but for wheelchair-accessible vehicles it may be necessary to use Selsey or Chichester based firms.
- 1 Earnley Butterflies Birds and Beasts (Earnley Butterflies and Gardens), 133 Almodington Lane, Earnley, Chichester, PO20 7JR, ☏ . A butterfly house, bird aviary, animal & reptile rescue centre, gardens, various exhibitions, children play areas and a café.
- 2 Medmerry RSPB Reserve, PO20 7NE (OS Grid ref:SZ 857 966), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A nature reserve accessible from Earnley or Siddlesham.
- 3 National Trust East Head (follow signs for West Wittering Beach: East Head is 15 minutes walk from there). Shifting sand dunes, shallow waters, salt marsh and wildlife.
This area of the coast area is particularly known for Windsurfing and Kitesurfing. Other shoreline activities include scuba diving with a Valentine Tank and the submarine HMS A1 being among the noted wrecks off the shore. Diving permits are required for protected wrecks.
- 1 Foreshore office RYA yacht training and boat slipway launches (Go to Southernmost end of B2198), ☏ . May-Sep: 9AM-5PM. Chichester district council assists with boat launches - excluding personal craft and jetskis - runs Royal Yacht Association (RYA) accredited training courses and generally manages the beach. There is a display at the Foreshore office when open.
- 2 West Wittering Beach (follow the brown tourist signs to West Wittering Breach or follow the Salterns Way Cycle and wheelchair path; the nearest bus stop is the Old House at Home Pub). Car park: winter 7AM-6PM, longer in summer. A sandy Blue Flag beach run by West Wittering Estate PLC with windsurf, kitesurf and swimming areas, café, other facilities and a private car park.
- 3 Solar Heritage Boat Trip (follow signs for West Itchenor from the B2179 road half way between Birdham and West Wittering), ☏ . Chichester Harbour, very close to Bracklesham Bay. Eco-friendly solar boat trips round Chichester Harbour are available from West Itchenor.
- 4 Fossil Hunting on Bracklesham Bay. Common finds include sharks' teeth and bivalve shells.
The main place to shop is East Wittering Village which has an interesting range of local independent shops as well as grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, and other services. Bracklesham and West Wittering also have local shops. There are surfing and kitesurfing specialist stores scattered across the area.
- 1 Dom ristorante and pizzeria (The establishment formerly the Lively Lady public house), Bracklesham Lane, Bracklesham. Italian cuisine.
- 2 Pond Barn (Bar & Restaurant), Farm Rd, Bracklesham PO20 8HR, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Bar: Su-Th noon-11PM, F Sa 11AM-midnight. Food: W-Sa noon-2:30PM & 6-9PM, Su noon-3PM.
- 3 Drifters, 59 Shore Road, East Wittering, PO20 8DY (at south end of Shore Road opposite the Shore Inn), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M W-Sa 9AM-late; Su 9AM-3PM. Informal family-run kitchen bar and restaurant serving main meals, small plated and nibbles.
- 1 [dead link] The Thatched Tavern (Lunchtime snacks), Church Rd, East Wittering PO20 8PU, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- 2 The Shore Inn (Pub & Food), Shore Rd, East Wittering PO20 8DZ, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Bar: M-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su 11AM-10:30PM. Food: M-Sa noon-3PM, Su noon-4PM.
The area is noted for caravan accommodation whist there is surprising little hotel and B&B accommodation for a coastal resort. The Pontins/Richardsons holiday village was closed and sold to property developers in late 2016.
Hotels and B&B
- 1 Pebble Reach Bed and Breakfast, 16 Rowan Way, ☏ .
- 2 [dead link] Old House at Home (On the B2179 through West Wittering), ✉ email@example.com. Combined B&B, restaurant, bar and beer garden
Camping and caravaning
- 3 Stubcroft Farm Campsite, Stubcroft House Farm, Stubcroft Lane, East Wittering, PO20 8PJ (By car from B2198 take Tile Barn Lane then Stubcroft Lane. Alternative access available by foot/bicycle), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Camping and touring caravan site with facilities and shop on a working sheep farm. Bicycle hire may be available. There is also limited B&B accommodation available. From £18.
- 1 Post Office (Inside the Co-op store), Co-Op Store, Kingfisher Parade, East Wittering PO20 8BL. In the Co-op store in East Wittering.
- 2 Witterings Library, Oakfield Avenue, East Wittering, PO20 8BT (From Cakeham Road take Oakfield Road south; at end turn west.), ✉ email@example.com. M-W 1-5PM; Th-Sa 9AM-1PM. Library with public access computers, Wi-Fi, internet access; fax and scanning service; restrictions to under 16s; various charges.