\\\ Dog Walks
\\\ updated 1 October 2021
Best Dog Walks In West Sussex
East and West Wittering – Brackelsham Bay – East Head Beach – Selsey
Beautiful walks along coastal routes and sandy beaches – Best dog walks in West Sussex
Selsey, Bracklesham Bay, West and East Wittering, and East Head Beach are situated in West Sussex, on the south coast of England, just at the estuary of Chichester Harbour, overlooking the English Channel.
East Head beach is part of a sand spit located by the entrance into the Chichester Harbour estuary, gorgeous and sandy with some shingle, whilst its back shore leads onto sandy dunes and salt marshes, called The Hinge, is an area renowned for the habitat of wild birds which is part of The National Trust that hugs the estuary river, an area designated as of National Outstanding Beauty.
From 1 October to 30 April each year there are no dog restrictions on any of the beaches and you can walk your dog, play and swim unless the weather is so bad and tides very rough.
Frequent dog visitors could wear a buoyancy jacket instead of an ordinary dog raincoat or coat and this would help them should they be in the water and tire to swim back to you.
To access one needs to park at West Wittering and walk along the signed footpath from the car park, however, dog walking is best kept to the beach area by accessing West Wittering beach so your dog does not get distracted by the bountiful wildlife. There are no National Trust car parks at East Head. All the parking offered near East Head is owned and managed by West Wittering Estate.
Image courtesy West Wittering Estate
There’s plenty of yachting activity from the harbour to watch as you walk with your dog and views towards The Isle Of Wight. Don’t be caught out visiting this area at high tide, as there is little of East Head Beach that you can walk on. Check meteorological websites before leaving home and plan your visit around the tides.
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There are relatively few beach locations to hire for a weekend break, staycation and holiday breaks along these beaches.
Sykes have a fabulous holiday let suitable for a well-behaved dog and owners with great reviews left. King Fishers is opposite Selsey beach and has its own pool. Makes a perfect location for seeking out the beaches with West Wittering being about 7 miles away. Check out properties in West Sussex. The picture features Selsey beach.
West Wittering has a lovely sandy beach that uses the groyne system. There are rows of fun-coloured beach huts on an almost flat beach with access through the sand dunes.
This is a perfect beach for children and families to spend the day here during the summer. The beach is often rated as one of the best beaches in the UK and becomes packed during the summer months with visitors and possibly best to avoid for a serious dog walk or day on the beach with your dog.
West Wittering beach has been named as one of 15 beaches in the South East to achieve the ‘Blue Flag’ status of international excellence. The beach has also been given a UK Seaside Award this year from Keep Britain Tidy to recognise the very highest standard for cleanliness and facilitiesChichester.co.uk
This popular beach operates with lifeguards during the summer and there are a few amenities with parking, cafe, and toilet. Parking charges can be quite high unless you stay for the whole day.
There are dog walking restrictions during the usual times of Easter/ 1 May to 30 September in the busy zones on these beaches and are signposted.
When you have parked in the West Wittering car park and joined the beach, you can either walk west, towards East Head Beach or east, towards East Wittering, along the beaches. If it’s the height of summer, a really warm and beautiful day, weekend, or bank holiday then we advise you to walk towards East Wittering.
However, West Wittering beach makes a fabulous serious walk and day out for your dog out of season.
East Wittering is just about 1.5 miles further down the coast from West Wittering and less than 1 mile away is Bracklesham Bay and both are similar to many Sussex beaches which are pebbly and shingle but when the tide starts going out, slope and become noticeably more sandy separated by the groyne system.
East Wittering is easy to access through sand dunes to the main beach and is less busy than West Wittering, popular for sailing and water sports. Brackelsham Bay has good access with the village looking onto the beach and with car parking and selected cafe and shops close by. The beach can be busy most times of the year with water sport activities and swimming and is famed as a beach for finding fossils with many local organization interests.
Selsey is located at the point of the bay, about 4 miles further along from Bracklesham Bay beach and similar with shingle upper shore beach and sand and mudflats exposed at low tide. The small village backs onto the beaches with shops.
All 4 beaches are dog-friendly however there are restrictions during Easter time and 1 May to 30 September. If travelling especially for a day out, do check local social media for any additional restrictions and all beaches have visible notices.
These beaches attract many bird watchers due to the huge numbers of migratory birds that rest here during the migratory seasons. Dogs need to be watched not to disturb the wildlife. We all know how much they love chasing them!
To get the very best out of a special day trip, plan in advance
- Pre-book your car park if necessary
- Check all local social media before setting out including if there are traffic build-ups in the area so you are not wasting time sitting in a hot car
- Check tide times for the best times to be on the beach. We recommend two hours after high tide allows the tide to be going out, sand and shingle drying out and gives more space on the beach. Meteorological websites.
- Remember to buy sunblock for you and your pet before its too hot weather, apply before leaving home
- Ensure your dog has ventilated space in your vehicle and also sunshades protecting them from direct sunlight whilst travelling
You can feel safe by the water knowing that Hayling Island has a lifeboat station close by. The RNLI has a website with helpful advice to remind yourself about sea and beach safety.
Three veterinary practices are available in the area about 5 miles or less, should you require them in case of emergencies.
NEVER LEAVE YOUR DOG UNATTENDED IN A CAR
Don’t forget your dog poop backs
Its your responsibility to clean up after your dog on beaches
Beach doggie tips
Take lots (more than usual) of fresh water and a collapsible bowl for your thirsty dog. Seawater is salty and will make your dog even more thirsty.
Have old towels to dry your dog if they’ve been swimming. Provide them with towels to sit on rather than the sand, and towels help to clean off the sand before going home!
A sun canopy or umbrella shade is important, not just for you, but also your dog who can catch sunburn as much as you can.
You may need to use a short and/or long dog lead during restriction times, and take a dog muzzle if you prefer your dog to wear one on busier beaches. They can act out character in new, unknown places often feeling anxious.
Beach images courtesy Visit Chichester, Visit Sussex and Dept. of Environment. Prices and information correct at the time of writing.
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