RICHARD WILLIAMSON: Country walk: East Head and West Wittering car park

I make no excuse for going along to see the subject under discussion once again. It is now at (one of) its best times, with early summer flowers in full bloom and the scenery shining and bright.

You will have to use the main car park south of West Wittering village at SZ765983 which is just about the only way you can be beside the seaside and a sandy beach in Sussex.

Go midweek; the car park entry fee varies but could be a fiver or more and the slot machine takes coins and notes or card.

My photo shows two people and their dog setting off around the route of this week’s walk, which is roughly 2.2 miles (3.5kms).

The route varies with the state of the tide, which at high water will be only 1.7 miles.

The Winner Sands may be soft enough to sink in to your calves, where pools have formed in turbulence at draw-down. Far to left is Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower. Then there is Portsdown Hill where PM Palmerston built his forts to repel an expected invasion from land or sea of the militant French.

Below those are the hangars of Thorney Island, a WW2 air base which had Hudsons and Mosquitoes, and Ernest Hemingway as passenger in one of those old kites as it attacked a Doodlebug or V1 rocket. Ahead are the South Downs and the green hill of Bow, with Kingley Vale below.

By now you should have seen a tern or two, both little and common as these do attempt nesting in the harbour. They will be here till September. Circling right handed around the head of this peninsula, please do keep your dog under tight control near the wired enclosure because the rare ringed plover always tries to breed here.

This is also where the rare plant sea knotgrass (Polyganum maritima) grows. In the sand dunes are several nationally rare species of solitary wasp and bee that have tunnels in the dry sand.

On the way back south you pass through one of the very few stands of sea lavender growing in Sussex. This plant flowers in July. Both common and lax lavenders cover about an acre. 100 different species of wild flowers grow in the sand dunes with rarities such as sea holly, sea bindweed, sea sandwort, sea spurge.

But on the left hand side of the return path there are salt marsh plants such as sea samphire, sea blite, and glasswort. What a treasure trove. But do look at them and try to identify with a pocket flower book, then you will know what all the fuss is about in the race to keep them all protected.