Boats of all shapes and sizes make up the 12,500 craft that regularly use the harbour. Competitive and even international racing takes place among the sailing clubs.
The harbour is one the few remaining undeveloped coastal areas in Southern England. Bright wide expanses and intricate creeks are at the same time a major wildlife haven and among some of Britain’s most popular boating waters.
Backed by the South Downs, Chichester Harbour is a series of tidal inlets, with a narrow mouth to the sea. Wind-sculptured oaks and hawthorns line the shore.
The saltmarsh and mudflats are a haven for around 55,000 birds who reside in or visit the harbour throughout the year. These include large flocks of Brent geese, dunlin and little egrets.
Picturesque creekside villages encircle the shoreline, which straddles the boundary of West Sussex and Hampshire.
To visit the harbour in a sustainable way, see www.conservancy.co.uk for ideas of walks or try out the Salterns Way cycle route. The route starts in Chichester and winds through the countryside ending at the beach at West Wittering.
Visitors can see the harbour from the water by joining one of the organised boat trips, these include the solar-powered catamaran Solar Heritage or vintage oyster boat Terror. In addition, the Conservancy arranges a year-round programme of guided walks and activities with events for all ages and abilities.