Timeline of the history of Pagham Harbour


- Pagham Harbour reclaimed from the sea under the Pagham Harbour Reclamation Act. 

- The tidal mill at Sidlesham Quay ceased to operate.


- The Selsey Tram (with its route along the harbour’s eastern edge) ceased to run.


- The Pagham Harbour Preservation Committee, linked to the Bognor Regis Natural Science Society (founded in 1938), pursued designation for Pagham Harbour as a bird reserve (acting on the letters of Michael Alford a soldier writing from war in the middle east, urging people to protect the harbour from development and misuse).

- Storm inundated the reclaimed harbour flooding farmland and houses.

1939-44 (World War 2)

- Typhoon crashed in the Harbour.

- Salthouse at Pagham used as Home Guard Command Post.

- RAF used Pagham Harbour as a firing range.

- Proposal to use Pagham Harbour a base for seaplanes.


- Pagham Harbour designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)


- July - Pagham Harbour designated as a Local Nature Reserve (LNR), under the ‘National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act’.

- Sussex Wildlife Trust held a winter tenancy of Pagham Lagoon.

- A Great Snipe recorded, the first rarity after being awarded LNR status.


- First byelaws enacted.

- Little Egret recorded on Ferry Pool (19th June)

- Peter Scott visits Pagham harbour as part of National Nature Week.


- Ian Kraunsoe appointed as Summer warden in April.


- Ian Kraunsoe appointed as first full-time warden in January.


- Inaugural meeting and formation of The Friends of Pagham Harbour. Sir Geoffrey Thistleton-Smith elected as the first chairman.


- Greater Sand Plover recorded on the reserve, a first for the UK and seen by over 2000 people.


- Visitor Centre opened 26th March attracting 10629 visitors that year.


- Bob Lord appointed as Warden


- Miss R Dixon replaced Colin Field  as secretary of The Friends

 - Committee: Mr Gilbert (Selsey); Mrs Wright (Sidelsham); Mr J Field (Pagham); Miss Dixon (Bognor); Mr Barnes (Hunston, Mundham and Runcton).


- Zoe Fowler now rosta secretary for The Friends


- Ferry Hide constructed by Youth Opportunities Scheme trainees, materials donated by Sussex Ornithological Society.


- A Trumpeter Finch is recorded, then only the second sighting in the UK.

- Remains of Typhoon raised from harbour by USAF Jolly Green Giant helicopter in February.

- Peter Burns appointed as Warden

- FoPH subscription raised from 50p to £1.

308 members FoPH, with 30 stewarding the Visitor Centre.

- FoPH committee Mr Herbert (Pagham); Mr Aylwin (Hunston, Mundham and Runcton); Mrs S Gilbert (Selsey); Mrs D Spiby (Sidlesham); Mrs Alice Bell (Bognor). Vice-Admiral Sir Geoffrey Thistleton-Smith, instrumental in the formation of the reserve and the FoPH, passed away.


- 177 members of FoPH


- Salthouse summer visitor centre opened in May attracting 5,500 visitors from 18 countries.

- FoPH membership  545, an increase of 237 over last year.

FoPH first social event at VC organised by Alice Bell.

- Mrs Hitchin elected chairman FoPH in January. Zoe Fowler elected secretary and treasurer.

- FoPH committee members: Mr J Aylwin (Hunston, Mundham and Runcton); Mrs S Gilbert (Selsey); Mrs Alice Bell (Bognor); Dr Don Annis (Sidlesham); Mr Edwin King (Pagham) 


- Ramsar Site (wetland of international importance) and Special Protection Area (SPA) designations.

- Sussex Wildlife Trust buys Ferry Field and Pool, opened by Bill Oddie.

- Hide built at Church Norton by the Key Training Group (materials donated by SOS).


- Sora Rail recorded on Pagham Lagoon in October.

- Visitor Centre extended during April and May.

- Scenes for James Bond film ‘View to a Kill’ were filmed over Pagham Harbour; in the film they were shown to be San Francisco Bay.


- FoPH becomes a registered charity.

Frances Goodwin replaces Mary Hitchin as chairman of FoPH


- First records of Muntjac deer.

- Wild Things (Junior Club) launched in November.

- Open Day organised by FoPH celebrates 25 years of the LNR.

- FoPH membership exceeds 600

- Stephen Knapp appointed manager of the Reserve


- Pagham Wildfowlers repaired, replaced and replanted a section of the Tamarisk Bank.

- Hide on Pagham Spit erected, sponsored by Kay Optical.

- Francis Goodwin resigns as chair FoPH and marries previous warden Peter Burns on 31 July. Vice chairman Jim Weston becomes acting chairman.



- Halsey’s Farm and Mill Pond Marsh purchased by the West Sussex CC.

- Pagham Wildfowlers raised the height of Tern Island with 2000 tons shingle.

- National Rivers Authority replaced metal wall at harbour entrance.

- Membership of the Friends of Pagham Harbour exceeds 700.


- Church Norton car park purchased by WSCC.

- FoPH subscriptions increased to £3.

- Bequest of £25000 granted to FoPH from the estate of Felix Lieven-Bauwens

- Jim Weston steps down as acting chairman of FoPH. Joan Norton elected as chairperson.











- A Lesser Sand Plover was seen, only the second sighting in the UK.











- Classroom at Visitor Centre craned into position.











- First issue of new look Harbour Views newsletter published.

- New classroom installed

- Rob Carver appointed manager











- Steps and boardwalk installed at Church Norton.

- Mink trapping begins.

- Environment Agency sealed off the harbour entrance with an inflatable boom (September exercise).









- First web site of the FoPH

- Invertebrate and lichen surveys part funded by FoPH.


- A Collared Flycatcher was sighted at Pagham Harbour, a first for Sussex.

- New raised boardwalk across Pagham Lagoon

- Peter Patton becomes chairman of FoPH, succeeding Lawrence Holloway.

- Flood relief sluices installed on Pagham wall.

- Biological recording contracts part funded by FoPH.











- Little Terns return to breed on the shingle after a decade away.

- Large recycled plastic boardwalks constructed on Pagham Spit.

- Gina Carrington becomes chair FoPH, David Carrington secretary and Peter Gadd membership secretary.











- Harbour Flyer newsletter replaces Harbour View.

- FoPH membership totals  have 149 single, 150 joint, 22 family members and (life) 49 single, 29 joint (hon life) 8 single, 2 joint. (Total - 632 )


- Discovery Area opened at Summer Solstice

- An Oriental Pratincole spotted on the Reserve, only the fourth recorded in the UK.

- Birds of Pagham Harbour (edited Owen Mitchell) published by The Friends.

- Printing and postage costs rise to £1000/year

- Peter Gadd becomes chairman of FoPH.


- FoPH donates  over £7000 to Reserve projects including wheelchair path in Discovery area.

- Transfer of management from WSCC to RSPB (February)

- Peter Driscoll (Chair of Friends)



- Shingle bank at Medmerry breached.


Visitor Centre Refurbishment with new toilets, roof and pathways.



Ferry Hide & Discovery Zone activity shelter opened, along with enlathed dipping pond and new footpaths.



- 40th anniversary of The Friends of Pagham Harbour.











 £30,000 Donation towards cost of new hide overlooking Ferry Pool.                                    - ----Publication of 'Birdwatchers Guide'          Launch of 'Buy A Plank' to help fund new activity  shelter in the Discovery Area










The Membership Secretary 

Friends of Pagham Harbour, Visitor Centre, Selsey Road, Sidlesham, West Sussex, PO20 7NE


Friends of Pagham Harbour

Registered Charity: No 1000136