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

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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.