50th AONB Anniversary

Chichester Harbour: Celebrating 50 Years as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

February 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the designation of Chichester Harbour, a much loved area on the south coast of England, as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Tucked between the towns of Havant and Chichester, the harbour is a hidden coastal gem. It's bright, wide expanses of water, intricate creeks and wealth of wildlife all add up to make it a very special place.

AONBs are landscapes chosen for the quality of their scenery. They have statutory protection to conserve and enhance their natural beauty. There are 33 AONBs in England - the smallest being the Isles of Scilly and the largest is the Cotswolds.

Back in 1964 Chichester Harbour was recognized for its natural beauty. One of the National Parks Commissioners reported that it is ‘unquestionably a very lovely area of tidal waters, lush fields and woods. Made outstanding, if not unique, by its backcloth of the Downs and by its ever changing vistas of Chichester Cathedral.' If he visited today he would find it largely unchanged.

Throughout the year Chichester Harbour Conservancy are organising a number of celebratory events so everyone can join in to discover more about our beautiful harbour and learn how to look after it for future generations.

50th Anniversary Events

Big Beach Picnic and Kite Fly-in was held on Saturday 7th June

Kite showing 50th anniversary logo    Kites flying at Hayling Island 

The event which was organised in conjunction with the National Trust, West Wittering Estates and the RNLI, was held both at East Head and Hayling Island Lifeboat Station and provided opportunities for people to appreciate the beauty of the Harbour.  Cycle safety expert, Fred Ellis, lead a ride along the Salterns Way cycle path, whilst local artist Simon Cowper ran sketching and watercolour workshops.  We were also joined by four crews from the Langstone Cutters Gig Club who rowed from Langstone to East Head to share the fun.

Countyside Crafts and Skills Fair - 29th June, Tuppenny Barn, Southbourne

A family fun-filled event packed with activities to try all with a countryside theme, including bird boxes, mini-cottage garden, willow starts, wild food, green wood working, beekeeping, floristry foraging and hedgerow identification.  Refreshments and home-made cakes, local produce and a plant stall will also be available.

Fee: £5 per adult. Children free

50 Pieces of Gold, 26th Nov-3rd Dec - A multi-media arts exhibition celebrating 50 years of outstanding natural beauty

Picture of Fifty Pieces of Gold Exhibition

Artists of all abilities are invited to submit work in a variety of media including video, poetry, prose, photography and sculpture. The work must be inspired by Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 50 pieces will be chosen for an exhibition in November 2014.

Then and Now Photography Project
We are searching for photos taken within the AONB during the early 1960s. We will then ask local photographers to recreate the photos with the best ones being made into a calendar for 2015.

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Celebrating 50 Years of Outstanding Natural Beauty - 60KB

Photos by Paul Adams