Brief background to… Bosham, West Sussex, England

Red Sunset

Bosham (pronounced /ˈbozem/) is a small coastal village in West Sussex. Bosham is situated three miles (5 km) west of Chichester on an inlet of Chichester Harbour. Bosham is actually closer to the city centre of Chichester than it is to the open sea. Rainbow Thought by many to be both the birth and burial place of the last Saxon King: Harold, King of England & Earl of Wessex. Formerly in the province of the South Saxons and the Earldom of Wessex, it became Boseham in 1086, 20 years after the Norman conquest. Bosham is mentioned by name in the Bayeux Tapestry, referring to the 1064 meeting of Harold and Edward the Confessor on the way to meet William of Normandy to discuss who would succeed Edward to the throne.
The name Bosham is believed to be derived from the old English ‘Bosanhamm’ – Bosa’s water meadow as it was known in 750AD. At certain times of the year when the weather turns very warm it’s quite common for a mass of weed to suddenly appear blanketing the creek as can be seen in the adjacent image.

Pictured above, a rainbow appears ahead of the approaching storm.

The present time

The parish has a land area of 1375 hectares (3397 acres). The 2001 census was showing 2847 people lived in 1313 households, of whom 1358 were economically active. Bosham is made up of two distinct halves: Old Bosham & New Bosham. New Bosham to the north is more developed and some way inland, and I believe used to be called Broadbridge. How and why the name changed, yacht I don’t know, maybe they referred to the railway station there as Bosham Station, and therefore people started referring to the local area as Bosham as well, or maybe, people preferred to live ‘In Bosham’ rather than ‘In Broadbridge’. It has a mainline railway and the A259 road passing through it. quay

Left, looking down the Quayside

Right, out on the mud flats

The area that this article is about is Old Bosham, which covers the harbour and surrounding village and farmland area, as well as the nearby but less often visited Bosham Hoe. The dwellings in the Harbour area and Bosham Hoe are highly sought after and therefore exclusive – read expensive. The Hoe (The name derives from the Anglo-Saxon word Hoe, a sloping ridge, shaped like an inverted foot and heel.) is a much overlooked part of Bosham located on a nearby headland formed by small creeks flowing into Chichester harbour. The Hoe can be reached from the harbour by taking the coastal path towards the sea, or inland by Smugglers lane. A ferry (passenger only) links the footpaths to Itchenor on the other side of the creek.

The two pictures below show the view across to Itchenor from the pathway leading from the Hoe to the ferry

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The shoreline Consists of mudbanks which are submerged at high tides and are the feeding grounds to many wild birds. Bosham Harbour is a small part of Chichester Harbour (Over 10,000 craft use the harbour and there are some 5,500 moorings and 14 sailing clubs with over 11,000 members.)which is protected by the Chichester Harbour Conservancy Act 1971.


Old Bosham gets very busy in the summer months, in particular the harbour area, where parking can be limited, especially at high tide when the road around the harbour floods at each tide. Park with care. Children love walking along the road as there are a great many ducks and birds to feed. In winter the setting sun is a viewed down the length of the water, rather than across it, where as in the summer it sets behind the church, although this does of course change with your viewpoint.


For the photographer, there are many delights, from the wildlife to the boats, picturesque buildings to the historic church and then of course the harbour which undoubtably attracts the most attention. For me the harbour is the clear winner. The tide is an important feature here, personally, reflect I think its best when its three quarters of its maximum height, remember that it varies from tide to tide – not all tides are equal. Having consulted a tidetable for Chichester Harbour Entrance, it shows over a period of under 6 weeks the high tides vary in heights from 3.6m (11ft 10in) to 5.2m (17ft 9 in) in height. A 1.6m (5ft 11in) difference. Too high, then you get a solid expanse of water, too low, featureless mudflats. The mudflats do make for great mini landscapes though. If you can catch a high tide, and at slack water the surface can be like a mirror, allowing some superb reflections to be seen. Due to the shape of the harbour, some great sunsets can be had all year round as the sun sets over different locations within the harbour.


The picture above shows 3 other photog’s enjoying the setting long after the sun has set.

Some of my favourite photographs have been taken upto 45 minutes after the sun had set .

Recommended Equipment:…DSLR, lens focal length 16mm – 100mm ideal (primes or zoom), TRIPOD, remote shutter release (cable or radio), ND Grads unless blending. Note: if birding then bring your longest lens.
Take note of the tides and park with care, numerous vehicles every year got swamped by the tides – make sure it doesn’t happen to you.
January 18, 2013 1:39:17 AM