This lovely walk takes you around Rye Harbour Nature Reserve on the Sussex coast. There's great scenery with a wide range of habitats including saltmarsh, lagoons, grazing marsh, shingle and reedbeds. You can follow miles of footpaths through the reserve while looking out for a huge variety of wildlife. Birds you might see include ringed plover, avocet, oystercatcher, redshank, lapwing, and sandwich terns. There's also lots of colourful plants and flowers in the summer months. Look out for 456 species of flowering plants including yellow horned-poppy, sea pea and sea campion.
The reserve also includes Henry VIII's Camber Castle. You can visit the interesting ruins of this 16th century Device Fort, built to protect the Sussex coast against French attack.
The Saxon Shore Way long distance footpath runs through the reserve so you could pick this up to extend your walk. You could visit nearby Winchelsea and then follow the waterside path along the Royal Military Canal on the Rye to Hastings Walk. Our Rye Circular Walk visits the harbour reserve, the castle and Winchelsea. Also near here is the beautiful Camber Sands, a very popular local beach.
At Camber Sands you can pick up the England Coast Path and head east to the splendid Dungeness RSPB Nature Reserve. Here you will find lakes, lagoons and an expansive section of shingle beach with a wide variety of wildlife.
PostcodeTN31 7TU - Please note: Postcode may be approximate for some rural locations
Rye Harbour Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Rye Harbour Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Rye Harbour OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Rye Harbour Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
The William the Conqueror pub is located right on the harbour and a good choice for some post walk refreshments. Recently refurbished, it’s a smart, friendly, traditional pub, boasting real ales, hearty pub food and a friendly welcome. There’s a large outdoor area here, with plenty of alfresco seating on the banks of the River Rother. It's a great spot to enjoy lunch while looking out for some of the local wildlife that make this a Site of Special Scientific Interest. You can find the pub near the car park on the eastern side of the reserve at postcode TN31 7TU.
The delightful Avocet Tea Room is located in the same area as well. The tea room also includes a lovely art gallery showcasing the talent of local artists. The gallery is run by award-winning photographer Peter Greenhalf and former journalist Morgan (who makes all the cakes). The gallery reflects the artists’ love of the natural world and is well worth seeing if you have time after your walk.
The harbour is a great place for a dog walk, though it's best to keep them on leads near the livestock. The William the Conqueror pub is also dog friendly.
Further Information and Other Local Ideas
The route passes the Mary Stanford Lifeboat House, a site of some historical significance. The now abandoned lifeboat house serves as a monument to rescue crew tragically killed in the 1928 disaster. It can be found on the southern side of the harbour and includes an information board with details of the tragedy.
At the northern edge of the harbour there's also the Rye Castle Museum or Ypres Tower. The museum has lots of interesting artifacts and exhibits to see including locally-made medieval pottery, an embroidery depicting many aspects of Rye life and history, medieval artifacts, activities and town maps. You can also climb to the top of the tower and enjoy fantastic views over the harbour and the river. It's a nice place to visit after your walk if you have time.
Above: Ypres Tower or Rye Castle. A worthy addition to your outing.