The Chichester Canal runs some four and a half miles from the centre of the town down to this delightful stretch at Birdham where the still functioning lock gives access to the harbour and the sea.
The sea lock is still working, although sadly road bridges further inland prevent navigation along the full length of the canal.
Built as a ship canal in the 1820's as part of the Portsmouth and Arundel canal, which in turn was to be part of a planned and much greater waterway linking London to Portsmouth and the south coast via the river Wey. As with so many projects the scheme had a military basis the idea was to allow vessels to move between London and Portsmouth without the need to venture into the English Channel. But with the end of the war with France the Admiralty decided the link was not necessary and the system was not viable commercially.
The lower reach has a number of houseboats moored along the banks many of which appear to be weekend homes, delightfully situated adjacent the yacht marina.
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