Apuldram, in the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, was recently discovered to be a waypoint along an ancient pilgrimage route running between Southampton and Canterbury. Natalie Leal explores the area and takes a walk from Apuldram church down past nearby Dell Quay and on to Chichester Marina.

1. Park in the small parking area and take the fenced in footpath towards Apuldram church. The 12th-century, Grade I listed St Mary the Virgin church will soon be used for pilgrims walking the restored 150 mile ancient route between Southampton and Chichester which is due to launch later this year. What has been called ‘The Old Way’ was discovered on a 14th century document called the Gough map in 2018.

Once in the churchyard turn almost immediately left and follow the path into a neighbouring field. Keeping the horse paddocks, hedge and small stream to your left, follow the (unsigned) public footpath straight ahead across the farmland. If you look to your right there are views over to Chichester cathedral from here.

On the opposite side of the field go through two gates, then turn left at the sea wall. Pass through the next kissing gate and continue along the narrow avenue of trees (which act as a good windbreak at this time of year). Keep straight ahead and you soon arrive at a boat yard and the small harbour of Dell Quay. On a breezy day will probably hear the distinctive sound of the moored boats clinking and whistling in the wind before you see them.

2. While hard to imagine now, Dell Quay was founded in the 16th century and in its heyday was the seventh most important port in England.

Turn left here walking past The Crown and Anchor pub and on to Dell Quay Road. Follow the quiet lane for approximately 150 yards until you come to a kissing gate leading into a field on the right. Go through this and follow the path through the farmland towards the water. Once back at the water’s edge the views open out again over the harbour and back towards Dell Quay. Not only are there fantastic views out across this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty but if you’re lucky you might also spot a few winter migratory birds along here such as lapwing, redshank and oystercatchers.

Continue along this permissive path along the water’s edge for approximately a mile and a half until you arrive at Salterns Copse. Follow the gravel path through the trees keeping the water to your right. You will soon arrive at Chichester Marina.

3. The Marina marks a good midway spot for a cup of tea or a sit down to admire the views across the harbour. Once you’ve taken in the atmosphere, take the path signed for the Salterns Way along the opposite edge of Salterns Copse, this time with the trees to your left. Salterns Way is a 12-mile stretch for cyclists linking the centre of Chichester to the north with the sand dunes of East Head to the south. Follow the path and lane through the surrounding farmland for approximately a mile and a half until you arrive back at Dell Quay Road. Turn right here and then shortly afterwards take the next lane signed for Salterns Way to the left.

4. Walk up the road into Apuldram for a short distance, then follow the sign for the Salterns Way through a gate and along the edge of a field. After approximately 100 yards a footpath drops down, off the Salterns Way and back onto the road - the sign isn’t easy to spot so keep your eyes peeled. Take this footpath, then at the road turn left and follow it as it winds its way back to Apuldram Church, the start and end point of the walk.

The Essentials

Distance/Time: A circular walk of four and a half miles taking two hours.

By car: Free parking in a small car park by the church. From the A27 take the turning signed for Birdham. From this road, the turning for Apuldram is on the right. Nearest postcode: PO20 7EF Grid Ref: SU841032

By public transport: The nearest rail station is Chichester approximately two miles away. Further travel details at www.travelinesoutheast.org.uk, phone 0871 200 2233.

What’s Underfoot: Mostly well-surfaced public footpaths and tarmac lanes. Some areas can be wet and muddy after wet weather - walking boots advised.

Thirsty work: The Crown and Anchor pub at Dell Quay is a popular waterside pub along the route.

So you don’t get lost: OS Explorer map OL8, plus a compass for general direction.