Selsey Tramway Project
March 2021 – Ongoing
The ‘Selsey Tramway Project' (2022) aims to enhance the heritage of a ‘train’ which ran between Chichester and Selsey from 1897 until 1935.
The Selsey Tramway was the brainchild of Colonel Stephens. It opened in 1897, having taken just 4 months to build. It was more accurately named The Hundred of Manhood & Selsey Tramways Company Ltd (1897-1924) and West Sussex Railway (1924-35). It also had a number of alternative ‘nicknames’ – the Blackberry Line, the Sidlesham Snail, the Hedgerow Train and the Clickety-click which illustrate its quirky reputation.
There were 11 stations along the route – Chichester, Hunston, Hoe Farm, Chalder (Farm), Mill Pond Halt, Sidlesham, Ferry Farm, Golf Links Halt, Selsey Bridge Halt, Selsey Town and Selsey Beach Pond. The line crossed main roads at Stockbridge, Sidlesham (twice) and Ferry Farm. It crossed the Chichester Canal at Hunston as well as Broad Rife adjacent to Ferry Pool.
The line closed in 1935 due to a combination of its own unreliability and the competition of the Southdowns Bus Company.
In 1997, the 100th anniversary of the first train, a walking guide was written and signs attached to existing WSCC footpath signs along the route. In 2008 MWHG revised the guide ‘Walk The Selsey Tram Way’. In 2022 MWHG ‘Walk The Selsey Tram Way’ was updated with additional features.
This project is led by Dr Bill Martin and a team of volunteers with a passion for local history. This project keeps the story of the tramway alive for both the local community and visitors to the area with the creation of new signage, walking guides, information boards and artefact restoration.
‘Walk The Selsey Tram Way’ Guide
The original 2008 version of the walking guide was re-written and designed, including new directions based on feedback from volunteers who trialled the guide prior to publication.
Interactive Map of the Route
A mobile phone and tablet friendly version of the route was created to enable walkers to follow the trail from Selsey to Chichester as well as Chichester to Selsey.
Tramway Route Improvements
Directional signage has been updated along the walking route and information boards installed at points of interest, including the sites of the 11 stations. Walkers can access the interactive map and additional information using weblinks on the signage and QR codes on the information boards.
Where possible, the project restores artefacts, such as the station platforms.
The new and updated version of the Walk The Selsey Tram Way leaflet is now available to download on our Walks and Trails page. Printed copies are also available at RSPB Pagham Harbour Visitor Centre and Selsey Town Hall.
Signage has been attached to WSCC footpath posts to guide walkers along the heritage trail from Chichester to Selsey. Look out for our orange signs!
The interactive map of the trail is now downloadable for use on mobile phone. This version of the trail enables walkers to follow the trail from Selsey to Chichester as well as Chichester to Selsey.
Information boards are being erected at places of interest along the heritage trail, including the sites of the 11 stations. The boards have two QR codes which lead to the interactive map and this website.
Two artefacts have been restored from the undergrowth to reveal a section of track at the lifting bridge across the canal at Hunston and the platform at Chalder Station in Sidlesham.
Select a blog post to read the latest updates from this project.
PARTNERSHIPS & FUNDING
Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group (MWHG)
Funded by your donations, distributed through MWHG.
You can support our work by making a donation. Our donations are secured by PayPal (but you do not need a PayPal account to donate).
If you would like to learn more about this project please contact us by completing the form on our contact page.
Visit the Colonel Stephens Railway Museum at The Kent & East Sussex Railway in Tenterden, Kent.
The Selsey Tramway Volumes One & Two (Laurie A Cooksey) 2006 Wild Swan Publications ISBN 1-905184-15-8
Branch Line to Selsey (Vic Mitchell and Keith Smith) 1983 Middleton Press ISBN 0 906520 04 5
The Selsey Tram (David Bathurst) 1992 Phillimore ISBN 0 85033 839 5
The Hundred of Manhood and Selsey Tramways (Edward Griffiths) 1948, reprinted 1968 Langham, Herald Press, Farnham
Rail History - The Selsey Tramway (476 members)
Recreating Britain’s Lost Routes (Vic Jones) (1,300 members)
Steam World article by Bill Gage (1997) called ‘The BlackBerry Line’
‘Railway Bylines’ Article in 2006 called ‘The Selsey Tramway’