Bosham* is a small, picturesque Sussex village in Chichester harbour, about twenty minutes from where I live, and it's one of my favourite places in the world. I've wanted to share it with you for some time because I think you'll get why I like it, with it's beautiful houses and gardens, coastal location, and rich history.
We usually visit the main part of the village which is clustered around the church and sailing club. My preferred past time here is to walk very slowly and stare longingly at the houses. I like to speculate on what the owners might be like and what the buildings might look like inside. They come in all shapes and sizes - cottages, manor houses, terraces - and in varying styles. There are thatched roofs and many are built with flint, a local material and something I very much associate with this area.
They have an abundance of charm and quirks though, and no two look the same. One interesting feature which you see a lot is a "flood door" like the one below.
All the houses near the water have these, and for good reason. This, below, is a road at high tide. At low tide cars will be parked there and an ice cream van sometimes. At very high tides parts of roads around the village can be completely cut off and flooding must be a constant concern for residents.
(This is my reality check when I get too carried away with my dreams about living here. That and the shockingly expensive property prices.)
And the gardens. Some are simply and elegantly landscaped with a few trees and acres of lawn,
Others are a riot of cottage garden colour.
Many houses facing the water have their gardens at the front of the property, rather than the back. How thoughtful of them, so that we can all have a good nosey and admire their hard work.
I love how this place is all about the sea, and there's no escaping it; it's in the architecture, the history, and the lives of the people who live here. There is a large dinghy sailing community here with a thriving sailing club.
Sailing clubs always make me feel at home in a place. I grew up in a sailing family and spent a lot of time on boats as a child; the gentle clinking sound of rigging blowing against a mast combined with the salty smell of seaweed relaxes me. (That might sound weird, I know.)
There are wide and generous views across and around the harbour from every angle. I love to walk away from the village and see how it changes, what an attractive shape the cluster of buildings makes with the church spire in the centre.
You can walk right round the curve of the harbour so that you are directly facing the village. This is a favourite view of mine, when the tide is out and you can see the mud flats exposed.
Bosham is steeped in history. In 1064 King Harold sailed from Bosham to Normandy in France, and this event is depicted and Bosham even named in the Bayeaux Tapestry. And this area below, Quay Meadow, is where - according to local legend - King Canute attempted to hold back the sea.
King Canute's eight year old daughter drowned in a nearby brook and was thought to have been buried in the tenth century church, Holy Trinity Church, although there are differing views of how much of that is true and how much is local lore, depending on what you read.
It's a tragic story, but a fascinating one too.
If it rains, there are crafty shops and lots of places for coffee and cake, and some very nice pubs too.
I hope you can you see why I like it so much, why I come here in all seasons and all weathers. In the spring and summer the gardens are enchanting and it's enough just to wander around and examine the details in the buildings and gardens. I've come here in the pouring rain and sat in the cafe with the big picture window over the harbour, watching the rain and the waves. And I've come in the middle of winter and been enchanted by the wide open skies and mud flats at low tide.
I would love to know about your favourite places.
* Bosham is pronounced "Bozam" with a Z sound in the middle, not SH, as it's spelt. This makes no sense as twelve miles west is a town called Cosham and that is pronounced exactly as it looks like it should be, with the SH sound. Honestly, it's no wonder tourists can never pronounce our place names, we seem to make up the rules as we go.