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Chichester Harbour Solar Heritage Boat Tours

Itchenor West Sussex PO20 7AW

A slow, silent and super-environmentally friendly means of getting around and seeing the inlets, tidal mudflats and marshy beauty of Chichester Harbour – the smallest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the Southeast. This solar-powered catamaran is an endearingly strange-looking contraption, one of three made for an exhibition of alternative energy sources held in Switzerland. One of the others ended up in a museum in the USA, but happily this one is still very much in use. It glides silently over the water, creating virtually no wake as it progresses. During the 90-minute cruise the captain talks you round the facts and figures of the harbour, with its 53 miles of coastline, and points out the landmarks, among them Bosham church (the only church to appear on the Bayeux Tapestry), remains of an Iron Age salt works, and a line of stakes that are all that are left at a failed 19th-century attempt at land reclamation. Because the craft is so quiet, any passing wildlife is largely oblivious of it and its passengers. Binoculars are passed around so you can spot bird and animal activity over the water and by the shore. 

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