long man's walking guide to Sussex

A Compendium of Sussex Walks

Tag: rye

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.

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.