Cobnor: Picnics and Perfect Weather

Cobnor is exactly the type of place I needed to just “be”.
A place where I could be alone with my thoughts, with the sun on my skin and S by my side.
A place with snacks (obviously, because seriously who leaves the house without them?)
Only in this instance snacks got upgraded into a picnic basket.

Armed with meats, cheeses and carbs, a blanket and some paper, we got in the car and began driving.
“Where shall we go” S asked.
It’s a question that we regularly ask one another because we literally never plan anything until we’re on our way to actually doing it. I thought about it, and couldn’t decide where I fancied going. Kingley Vale‘s beautiful but is one heck of a walk when you’re hungry. West Wittering Beach on a windy day means you have a 100% chance of eating sand, and Bosham Hoe is covered in seaweed. I mean, it’s beautifully  picturesque, but it’s not the best place to sit on the floor for a picnic. But instead of saying all this I simply said:
“Take me somewhere I haven’t been before”

With a wink in his eye it was clear that S now had a destination in mind. We drove down, what felt like, memory lane. You see I grew up in this part of England and as result there are an abundance of memories attached to my life here. Chichester was where I was born, Bosham was where I learnt how to swim, and Chidham was where I first learnt to ride a pushbike, and the first time I ever sat on a motorbike. However, this was a place I hadn’t spent any time in, in over 20 years.

We drove around winding bends, past the streets I once walked along and past the school I once attended, slowing only for horses, tractors and other quintessentially English things that are just par for the course when you live near the countryside. We took a wrong turn, doubled back on ourselves and ended up in a car park.

I looked around and couldn’t see much except for Cobnor House, the Cobnor Sports Activity Centre and patches of grass where out-of-use boats lay waiting for the day they were used again. But as we started walking towards the water, the views opened up.

We continued walking along, trying to find the perfect spot to settle.

We walked past kids trying to collect seaweed from the waters below, muttering excitedly as they hooked a piece on a stick, only to grasp in horror as it slipped back off. We walked past dog walkers, and more bridges, and as we turned a bend we found it: the perfect spot.

Why was it the perfect spot I hear nobody ask?
Because I was hungry and bored of walking. But also because it was sheltered from the wind so there was no chance of it ruining our BBQ plans.

There was a perfectly good bench we could have sat on, but we decided to get down with the earth and sat on a blanket on the stones, surrounded by crispy seaweed instead. Not the delicious kind that you can eat, but the smelly kind that so distinctly represents the water’s edge.

Meanwhile S got the portable barbecue going,

Whilst I sat back and watched the boats sail past.

  Turns out that it was a good thing I bought a notepad with me, because it wasn’t the wind that ruined it, it was the fact that the portable barbecue didn’t light like it was supposed to. Luckily, a piece of cardboard and a piece of paper or two later, we had heat.

To be honest I love barbecue picnics, but I am over disposable barbecues. I think I’ll be purchasing something like this next time, because those tatty little things above? Sure they’re handy in a pinch, but there’s so many affordable options for portable barbecues now that it just seems like unnecessary wastage to keep buying them. After the barbecue heated up S put the burgers on and we sat back and toasted the bbq-lighting success, with an orange juice for S and a coconut water for me.

A few moments later and 2x slabs of cheese, with a hint of burger, were ready.

We sat back a little longer making the most of the sunshine. As I’m sure you’ve heard – England has had an abundance of sunshine recently which, well, really isn’t normal. The skies are blue and not grey, English people are smiling and even saying *hello* as they walk past you. It’s madness. But it’s also ridiculously enjoyable because England in the summer is, well, pretty damn near perfect.

Eventually, the clouds rolled in and it was time to pack up. We scooped up the rubbish, rolled up the blanket and toasted goodbye to an afternoon well spent.

Side note: I almost didn’t share this post because it didn’t feel like the type of post that’s very exciting for you to read. I was hesitant because you can’t experience the sound of overlapping waves rolling against the shore through a screen. (I mean sure – you *could have* if I had filmed it, but video isn’t my thing just yet.) But regardless, sometimes you need a place where you can just sit still. As a species we are obsessed with the notion of being busy, that we overlook the calming effect that a quiet afternoon can have. The calming effect that comes from a place like Cobnor. So I hope you don’t mind my sharing of a peaceful afternoon, but I think it’s important to remember the quiet days, just as much as the active ones.

How To Get To Cobnor Point

Drive to Chidham. If you’re coming from Chichester you’ll need to take the A259 westbound which will take you past Bosham and into Chidham. After arriving in Chidham, drive past The Bosham Inn pub (located on your right) and take the next left down Chidham Lane. Continue driving for about a mile and a half and keep an eye out for Cobnor Farm Lane. This lane will lead you down to Cobnor Estate, but just before you get to the house there will be signs for the Cobnor Activities Centre on the left. Follow those. You’ll be able to park your car there – either near the centre or on one of the grass carparks near the boats. Then walk towards the water!

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Have you ever spent time in Cobnor?
Let me know in the comments!
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