The army’s presence is low-key but two gates, one of each side of the bulbous peninsula, guard access to the right of way. A simple buzzer automatically opens each of these, though a CCTV surveillance man is probably checking that your boots have been given their daily polish.
I opted to go anti-clockwise and was soon watching swirls of dunlin, tortoiseshell-striped shelducks and dazzling white egrets. Curlews evocatively called as they swept over the mud banks and nervous oystercatchers piped below the grass banks.
The empty coastline is surprisingly varied but the island keeps itself to itself. I looked east, across the wide mud banks of Thorney Channel, to the throngs of matchstick people on the sands at West Wittering and remembered that old equation: car park x easy access = crowded honeypot. There are no such problems on Thorney and the wide seascape, together with wetlands, fields and marshes, means you never feel constrained by the limits of the coastal path.