RICHARD WILLIAMSON Country Walk...Selsey Bill

Here is a brilliant bracing walk over Christmas, even if the sea does freeze as it did in 1963.

Parking at the end of main street with public lavatory, at SZ851923. In gales the scene is like Tote Mare by Paul Nash.

Many other military memories. Nab Tower towed to its present position in 1920 as Admiralty Navigation Point. Was originally placed at Dover as U-boat lookout in first world war.

Owers Light and Mixon Beacon that during Roman occupation, when the sea was farther out, was a fort and quarry.

We traverse the Bracklesham fossil beds studied for 50 years by Bognor museum keeper Martin Venables.

Forty-five-million-year-old sharks’ teeth revealed at low tides among other marine life, with remains of Ice Age elephants, rhinos, sabre-toothed tigers, seashells and tree trunks (some with honeysuckle twists). These are only 120,000 years old.

The concrete wall is a famous shelter for bird watchers who record avian traffic passing along the English Channel on migration route from Africa to Scandinavia.

Arctic and pomarine skuas, gannets, fulmars, guillemots, razorbills, scoter ducks, shearwaters, petrels, divers and 16 different species of gulls are among the traffic logged.

Selsey is also landfall and departure point for tens of thousands of other migrants such as nightingale, cuckoo, willow warblers and swallows.

Seaside plants include the big obvious ones such as tree mallow, seabeet, alexanders. This was introduced by the Romans for its peppery seeds. Note smaller plants such as stagshorn plantain, bristly oxtongue, sea spurrey, procumbent pearlwort.

The shingle shore is often a favourite place for turnstones.

These black and white waders with orange legs rove together in small flocks along the edge of the tide searching for sand-hoppers and flies.

They breed in the high arctic. They can be quite tame.

Past the lobster pots, fishing boats, you come to a blue plaque dedicated to Eric Coates who composed the tune for Desert Island Discs and Music While You Work, a wartime cheerful tune that kept millions of factory workers happily busy.

Why did he not receive an honour for this, I often wonder.

Return walk is as breezy and boisterous as this invigorating little seaside and the waiting Morris, covered now in salt spray.