Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

An illustrated appreciation, of the most interesting districts in Sussex.

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A tramway between Chichester and Selsey has to some extent opened up the east side of the peninsula, but the west is still remote and will probably remain so. The country is, however, not interesting : a dead level of dusty road and grass or arable land, broken only by hedges, dykes, white cottages, and the many homesteads within their ramparts of wind-swept elms. Wheat and oats are the prevailing crops, still for the most part cut and bound by hand. Of the villages in the centre of the peninsula Sidlesham is the most considerable, with its handsome square church tower and its huge red tide-mill, now silent and weather-worn, standing mournfully at the head of the dry harbour of Pagham, whose waters once turned its wheels. On the west, on the shores of the Bosham estuary, or Chichester Harbour, are the sleepy amphibious villages of Apple-dram, famous once for its salt and its smugglers, Birdham, and Earnley. Let no one be tempted to take a direct line across the fields from Selsey to Earnley, for dykes and canals must effectually stop him. Indeed, cross country walking in this part of the country is practically an impossibility, except by con­tinuous deviations and doublings. In attempting one day to reach Earnley from Selsey in this way (after giving up the beach in despair), I came upon several adders, and I once found one crossing a road absolutely in Selsey.
Selsey is a. straggling white village, or town, over populous with visitors in summer, empty, save for its regular inhabitants, in winter. The oldest and truest part of Selsey is a fishing village on the east shore of the Bill, a little settlement of tarred tenements and lobster pots. Selsey church, now on the con­fines of the town, once stood a mile or more away ; whither it was removed (the stones being numbered) and, like Temple Bar, again set up. The chancel was, however, not removed, but left desolate in the fields.
Selsey Bill is a tongue of land projecting into a shallow sea. A lighthouse being useless to warn strange mariners of the sand­banks of this district, a lightship known as the Owers flashes its
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