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As Chichester is named the best place to live, this is why we must protect the Harbour

On Friday March 24, Chichester was named as the best place to live in the South East in the annual Sunday Times Best Places to Live Guide. In this article, Chichester Harbour Trust explains why the Harbour is essential to what makes the area special - and why it must be protected.

Chichester Harbour is truly unique – and is often called the “jewel in the crown” of the South Coast. It’s not hard to see why. This haven of tranquillity in a busy built-up area is vital to the communities who live and work here, and to those who visit to enjoy the stunning scenery and recreational opportunities.

The Harbour is fantastic to explore by boat, on foot or by bike, accessible to all throughout the year. During the Covid pandemic this proved a godsend to so many of us for our emotional and physical well-being. Taking in the changing light and tides lifts the spirits and re-connects us with nature.

And on nature…the Harbour is internationally important for its shorebirds, providing feeding grounds for over-wintering and migrating species. It’s an oasis for birdwatchers and photographers, seeking to capture that perfect shot of an elegant wading bird, or action shot of a tern or osprey diving for fish.

The Harbour has a resident fleet of over 12,000 leisure vessels - that’s about 25% of all the recreational craft in the Solent. with 14 sailing clubs and many youth sailing clubs, each year an estimated 25,000 people enjoy the Harbour’s waters for racing, cruising and fishing. More recently we’ve seen a huge increase in the popularity of stand-up paddleboarding, rowing and kayaking – great for the mind and body.

In turn, Chichester Harbour supports a large number of marine-related businesses, providing jobs and making a valuable contribution to the local economy. New pop-up cafes have appeared to provide walkers with a much-need warm cup of tea and sustenance to fuel their onward journeys, with pupaccinos for their doggy friends!

But this special environment is highly fragile, and the delicate ecological balance is easily disturbed by pollution, congestion and overdevelopment – which is why the Trust, together with our communities and supporters, have been fighting so hard to give the Harbour a voice, to ensure that its special environment is still here for our children and theirs to enjoy in the future.

Photo credit: Simon Masson

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