Worthing To Bognor Regis
It’s Monday the 19th February 18 and myself, Tony Driscoll and Darran Terry are walking the coastline from the Pier in Sunny Worthing to Bognor Regis. Sunny Worthing you may ask, well this is the nickname of Worthing but sadly not today. However it is still atmospheric in the light rain by the pier and along the beaches. Worthing has been settled for over 6000 years and had been a small Mackerel fishing hamlet for a few hundred years until the late 18th century when it developed into an elegant Georgian seaside resort. The area was also a strong hold of Smugglers in the 19th Century and was the site of rioting by the Skeleton Army in the 1880’s who opposed the Salvation Army’s marches against alcohol. Its Dome cinema is one of the oldest in Britain.
Rustington Convalescent Home was purpose-built as a convalescent home in 1897 by Sir Henry Harben, President of the Prudential Assurance Company, and a previous Master of the Carpenter’s Company, an ancient guild of the City of London. Sir Henry spent over £50,000 buying the nine acre site and building the Home, which was designed by the architect Frederick Wheeler, F.R.I.B.A. The Home was designed as a place where working men could convalesce after an illness or accident and enable them to become fully active again. It was officially opened on the 20th March 1897 in a ceremony led by the Bishop of Chichester, and admitted its first guests just four days later. Now, over 100 years later, Rustington welcomes both men and women of all ages and from every walk of life.
After sometime walking the extensive beach from Worthing we arrive at Littlehampton harbour with its modern pleasure harbour (fun park) and small wooden East Pier. Littlehampton was previously called Hampton and was also known as Arundel Port. The River Arun enters the sea here and the harbour was once owned by the Earls of Arundel and Dukes of Norfolk, whose successors still reside in Arundel today. The weather has started to improve as predicted and we check out the small wooden pier and views back toward Worthing. After a few minutes it’s time for a spot of lunch and a suitable place to eat is soon spotted as we enter into the town by the river.
After the short respite it was time to get moving and we continue beside the river looking for the footbridge that crosses the Arun. On the other side of the river we walk beside the river again past the golf club and marina before finding the mouth of the river near the West Pier at Littlehampton Fort. Littlehampton Fort played a real significant part in our history, it was the very first Palmerston Fort, without this experimental site the forts covering Portsmouth may not have ever been constructed. Littlehampton Fort Restoration Project was started in 2011 and is the vision of Andy Orpin, and the team he has assembled in order to see the currently damaged and overgrown Fort saved for future generations to enjoy. After the fort which I could not photograph due to the large dunes surrounding it from the seaward side, it was time to take off the waterproofs and head toward Atherington. For further information about Littlehampton Fort please click on this link. http://www.littlehamptonfort.co.uk/
Near Atherington the sea defences are falling down, being washed away by the continued relentless waves pounding this part of the foreshore. However the interesting thing about this seawall is the gun slits in it, left over from the second world war.
Nearing Bognor we get a glimpse of the pier for the first time as we walk along the esplanade, our thoughts soon turn to some well earned dinner and some light refreshment after a good shower at our overnight accommodation.
After a quick look around Bognor Pier which sadly was frequented by drunks, we get to see the fabulous Royal Norfolk Hotel on the seafront on the way to our B&B. However after a bit of research I found this interesting piece from a local paper online: “Over the years many people have mentioned or asked why the hotel has a royal crest coupled with the name ‘Royal Hotel’, after which royal visit did this occur? The answer is no royal visit was commemorated. In fact, the Royal Warrant Holders Association queried this fact with the Home Office in 1917. It was discovered that no royal warrant had ever been given, but it was agreed it could remain because of the duration of its existence. However it was mentioned that the crest could not be used on stationery, china or gifts“. So there you have it, lovely building though.