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Bracklesham Bay is a coastal bay on the west side of the Manhood Peninsula in West Sussex, England. The bay looks out onto the English Channel and the Isle of Wight is visible from the beach, as is the Nab Tower lighthouse and the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth.

Bracklesham Bay
Site of Special Scientific Interest
View out to sea from the beach
Bracklesham Bay is located in West Sussex
Bracklesham Bay
Location within West Sussex
Area of Search West Sussex
Grid reference SZ810952
Coordinates 50°45′02″N 0°51′03″W / 50.750616°N 0.850964°W / 50.750616; -0.850964Coordinates: 50°45′02″N 0°51′03″W / 50.750616°N 0.850964°W / 50.750616; -0.850964
Interest Biological & Geological
Area 201.9 ha (499 acres)
Notification 1980 (1980)
Natural England website

The bay is sandy and backed with shingle. The beach is popular with windsurfers, divers, surfers (mostly longboarders given the nature of the waves), stand up paddle surfers, and also fossil hunters, as the Bracklesham Beds, a well known fossil bed, is visible at low tide. The bedrock is London clay, and bits of the clay can be found on the sands.

The villages of Bracklesham and East Wittering are situated in the centre of the bay and it is bordered by the town of Selsey on the southern/eastern tip, and the village of West Wittering on the west side.

The nearest city is Chichester, which is seven miles to the north.

In May 1944 Bracklesham Bay was one site used in Exercise Fabius. The remains of at least one Valentine tank can be found ten metres underwater.


Medmerry managed realignment schemeEdit

The earth embankment at Medmerry holding back the sea was originally built in the 1960s however the coastline in the area was subject to frequent flooding events which were becoming unsustainable.[1] The scheme arose out of consultations from the 2008 Pagham to East Head Coastal Defence Strategy with the managed realignment scheme being adopted.[2] In 2013 Environment Agency completed the new 7km inland floodbank and breach in the shingle wall to providing flood relief and this enabled creation of the form the Medmerry RSPB nature reserve. The scheme cost £28 million. As of 2013 it is the largest open-coast scheme in Europe and is understood to be one of the most sustainable projects the Environment Agency has completed.[3][4]

In popular cultureEdit

Bracklesham Bay is mentioned in the track 'Saturdays Kids' (Paul Weller) on the 1979 album by The Jam, 'Setting Sons'; "Save up their money for a holiday/ To Selsey Bill, or Bracklesham Bay". Both places had Pontin's holiday camps.


"SSSI Citation — Bracklesham Bay" (PDF). Natural England. Retrieved 4 April 2009. 

  1. ^ "Managed retreat - Medmerry, Sussex". BBC Bitesize. 18 January 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018. 
  2. ^ "Medmerry Managed Realignment Scheme". TEAM Van Oord. Archived from the original on 3 February 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018. 
  3. ^ "About Medmerry". RSPB. Retrieved 18 June 2017. 
  4. ^ "Managed realignment at Medmerry, Sussex". Institution of Civil Engineers. 28 September 2015. Retrieved 24 June 2017. 

External linksEdit