Maybush Copse

Maybush Copse is an 8-acre community woodland at Cot Lane, Chidham. The site was purchased in 2009 by the Chichester Harbour Trust with support from the Chichester Harbour Conservancy, the Parish Councils of Southbourne and Chidham and Hambrook, and donations from over 180 local residents. The site was purchased to safeguard the special landscape of the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and to create a nature reserve and open space for the community to enjoy.

Maybush Copse is now open to the public. The site has been planted with 4,500 trees and has a network of woodland paths and a wheelchair path for people to enjoy. There are three beautiful viewpoints with Oak benches looking out over the neighbouring farmland towards the Chichester Harbour, and in time there will be open areas of wildflower lawn for families to enjoy picnics and ballgames.

A new permissive footpath links Maybush Copse to the local public footpath network offering links to the Chichester Harbour shoreline and the villages of Nutbourne and Chidham.

Visitors are encouraged to arrive on foot or by bike. Lockable cycle posts, kindly supplied by The Friends of Chichester Harbour have been provided along with a disabled parking space. There is roadside parking for a small number of cars. April 2012


Maybush Copse was owned for many years by the Pycroft family who acquired it in 1923. Clay was dug to make bricks which were fired on the site. Many local houses are built with these bricks. This stopped in the 1950's. After the clay was exhausted, the excavated area was used as a landfill site. The site was then used as a camp ground for a while but has been vacant ever since.

Looking after the Copse

The Chichester Harbour Trust has leased the Maybush Copse to Chichester Harbour Conservancy for 99 years. The Maybush Copse Friends was formed in 2009 by the local community to look after the site, supported by the Conservancy and the Trust.

Work started in 2010 to create a native woodland by planting 4,500 trees and shrubs, with open areas of grassland and wildflowers. Woodland paths and a wheelchair path have been created so that local people can enjoy the area for quiet recreation and enjoy the wildlife.

Nature and wildlife

Maybush Copse provides a haven for wildlife including mammals, birds and reptiles. Look out for roe deer, rabbits, foxes, field voles and wood mice. There is a healthy population of slow worms, which are a protected species, together with grass snakes, which you may be lucky to see. Many bird species use the area for nesting and feeding, including woodpeckers, turtle doves, dunnock and buzzards, along with many other woodland birds.

Although bats are not currently roosting at the site, you may see them flying overhead at dusk in search of food.

The woodland planting is made up of local native species including Oak, Hazel, Field Maple, Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Ash, Alder Buckthorn, Dogwood, Guelder Rose, Goat Willow, Spindle, and Holly.

Enjoying the Copse

We ask that the public stay on the surfaced paths provided to avoid disturbing the wildlife.

The site is enjoyed by children, and is a nature reserve, so it is very important that dogs are kept under close control and are not allowed to foul the site.

There is a permissive footpath leading from the west of the site to link up with the local public footpath network.

The site is not open to cycles, horses, or motorised vehicles.

Please note that digging in any areas of the site is not allowed.

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