long man's walking guide to Sussex

A Compendium of Sussex Walks

Tag: camber castle

Exploring Winchelsea, Countryside and Coast

Rye Coast

Exploring Winchelsea (PDF) 

  • Five walks – from 3.5 miles to 8 miles, including The Royal Military Canal and Fairlight Cove
  • Two cycle rides of 5 and 12 miles, the former a short circular ride between Winchelsea and historic Rye
  • Many good pubs and tea rooms along the way on most walks
  • Historic attraction featured in one walk – Camber Castle with many historic sites in Winchelsea and Rye

cup of teabushistoric attractioncycle

This excellent guide contains seven walking and bike routes for you to explore around historic Winchelsea in the far East of Sussex.

Created by Edward I in 1288 as a replacement for Old Winchelsea, which washed away during heavy storms, the town of Winchelsea sits atop Iham Hill, overlooking The Channel and the Brede Valley. A harbour was built and Winchelsea grew swiftly on timber exports and wine imports in the 14th century, as well as on fishing, smuggling and piracy. Butt less than a century after the harbour was built, the sea began to retreat. The harbour and fortunes of the town fell into decline as merchants moved away. French and Spanish raids further depleted the populace despite the fortified gates and ramparts, and Winchelsea never fully recovered.

The threat of invasion remained during the Napoleonic war, when the Royal Military Canal was built, walk one in the booklet.

Today, Winchelsea is a quiet place but its colourful history still resonates from its ancient buildings, church and stone town gates.

Rye Harbour Walks

Rye Harbour

Three Circular Walks (PDF) or Your Guide to Rye Harbour Nature Reserve (Sussex Wildlife Trust, PDF)

  • three walks of 1 to 3 hours, 2 miles, 4.5 miles, 5.5 miles
  • see How Rye Repelled the Enemy for alternative description of walk two, 4.5 miles (AA)
  • Mostly flat
  • Camber Castle is passed on walk three but see also Camber Castle Walk.
  • Inkerman Arms, William the Conqueror and Bisun’s Bite Cafe at Rye Harbour
  • toilets at Rye Harbour
  • accessible by bus
  • a private tarmac road runs through the southern part of the reserve and the four bird-watching hides here are suitable for most wheelchairs. The northern part of the nature reserve, Castle Farm, is served by shingle and grassy paths.

buscup of teachurch castledisabled access sign

These walks offer wide skies, lonely seas and lagoonsRye Harbour Nature Reserve is large coastal nature reserve with shingle beaches, sandy shores at low tide, grassland, saltmarsh and reedbeds bordering lakes and pools hosting a vast array of wildlife. It is excellent for birdwatching with a number of birdwatching hides.

Camber Castle is within the Nature Reserve and was built in 1539 by Henry VIII to defend the threat of being invaded by France and Spain, and is one of a series of forts along the south coast. The castle, once on the edge of the sea, is now two miles from the coast. It has taken around 500 years for the land to fill up with silt, and this has helped form the land that make up the nature reserve. Camber Castle is open to the public on the first Saturday of the month from July to September at 2pm for a guided tour (check website first)

Disabled and Buggy Access: The northern route is possible with more robust wheelchairs and all-terrain buggies but is challenging. It is not a hard surface. The southern section, including the route from Rye Harbour to the sea and along the coast, is on a good tarmac surface. Several of the birdwatching hides are accessible.

Camber Castle Walk

Camber Castle from the air

Camber Castle from the air

Camber Castle Walk (PDF, East Sussex County Council)

  • 3.5 miles
  • Mostly flat, can be wet after heavy rain
  • pubs, cafes and toilets in Rye
  • accessible by bus and train – extra walk to/from station

trainbuscup of teachurch castledisabled access sign

This short circular walk from the edge of Rye passes Camber Castle and Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, and starts out by following the route of an old railway line. Camber Castle was built in 1539 by Henry VIII to defend the threat of being invaded by France and Spain, and is one of a series of forts along the south coast. The castle, once on the edge of the sea, is now two miles from the coast. It has taken around 500 years for the land to fill up with silt, and this has helped form the land that make up the nature reserve. Camber Castle is open to the public on the first Saturday of the month from July to September at 2pm for a guided tour. Admission £3 adults.

Disabled and Buggy Access: This route is possible with more robust wheelchairs and all-terrain buggies but is challenging. It is not a hard surface.