Chichester Harbour has an abundance of wildlife and an interesting array of habitats encompassing nature reserves and sites of special scientific interest. You'll find mudflats & salt marshes, sand dunes & shingle beaches, woodland & farmland edging the water. All attracting specialists birds from the charming wading birds that feed at low tide to the winter migrants that flock in large numbers to the protection of the harbour. Oakwood West Holiday Cottages are close by to all of these wonderful sites.
Take a wander along the shore line of Chichester Harbour when the tide is low to see Oystercatchers, Curlews and Egrets feeding in the mud flats. The wonderful sound of Brent geese fills the air in winter as they congregate on the fields close to the water. Redwings and Fieldfares can often be seen plucking berries from hedgerows, sharing with flocks of Sparrows, Finches & Blackcaps. There are many points you can start from; Bosham, Prinsted, Fishbourne, Itchenor & Dell Quay. Take a look at the Harbour Conservancy's suggested walks here.
Herons often cross the Sussex sky and in summer a pair nest on the Chichester canal. You can see them by hiring a wooden row boat at the canal basin and paddling down the water, or by walking or cycling the picturesque towpath. Kingfishers can be seen at quiet times and a host of ducks, swans, coots and moor hens are always in attendance on the canal. Guided boat trips are available too as is the hire of kayaks or paddle boards.
The Solar Heritage bird watching tours will take you across the harbour on the silent solar powered boat to see the birds that live in the harder to reach areas. Trips run throughout the year setting off from Itchenor.
We're fortunate to have RSPB reserves close by at Pagham, Medmerry, Langstone and Pulborough Brooks, plus the wonderful Arundel Wetland Centre. There's miles of coastland & wetland to explore with bird hides and signposts to key locations. The grand silhouette of a white tailed eagle can sometimes be seen in the sky above this area.
A trip of the Knepp Wildland is a must for any keen birder. This rewilded farmland has become a haven for rare and threatened bird species including the turtle dove, nightingales and the lesser whitethroat. Safari tours for specific birds and animals are available throughout the year, taking you away from the footpaths with an expert guide.
The woods and meadows of the South Downs are rich with birdlife from the majestic raptors that soar overhead by day to the silent gliding of barn owls through the dusk. Nightjars travel thousands of miles to nest in these woodlands. Birds of all kinds can be found in the forests from tiny goldcrests & firecrests to brightly coloured woodpeckers and songbirds of all kinds.
Our woodland, a short walk from our holiday cottages, is the home to many species and is a peaceful place to begin your birdwatching holiday.
Behind our holiday homes there is a wildlife meadow that is home to an array of native species, our guests have had the opportunity to watch and to photograph barn owls hunting there. In the summer the owls can be there for many hours, working hard to gather food to feed their young. Meadow Hide our smallest holiday cottage, has a large picture window overlooking the meadow, it's a perfect place for a twitchers' holiday. You'll find us just outside of Chichester in the small village of West Ashling.
Most of the places that we have mentioned are only a short distance from Oakwood West Holidays. We can offer you comfortable, modern & totally relaxing accommodation to stay in complete with hot tubs, enclosed gardens with native hedging, and luxurious furnishings.
All you need to bring is your boots and your binoculars!