Our farm is on the East Sussex/Kent border next to the small village of Camber, made famous by its incredible beach which for most people is draw enough for an entire holiday.
Camber sands is a seven mile long beach which stretches from the Rother Estuary at Rye Harbour, all the way to the Kent village of Dungeness to the east. Further to the west are the cliffs of Fairlight, leading to Hastings with just a watery view towards France to the south. It has the only sand dune system in East Sussex which is home to many unusual species of wildlife and a climb to the top offers one or two rather nice secluded picnic spots with an amazing view.
The more adrenaline fuelled of you might like to turn your hand to kitesurfing which is an ever growing and extremely popular sport. The Kitesurf Centre opposite our farm entrance is run by some really nice and talented people and is a leading BKSA kite school, offering kitesurfing lessons and much more. See www.thekitesurfcentre.com for more details. There is also a very well run Windsurf Centre on a coastal lake the other side of Camber which caters for all skill levels, from novices through to experts. Rye Watersports is a Royal Yachting Association school for windsurfing and dinghy sailing and a BSUPA Stand Up Paddleboard centre. If you would like to book a lesson, visit www.ryewatersports.co.uk for more details.
Rye Golf Club is approximately 2 miles from us and is one of the most famous links courses in the country. It is a members only club which only very occasionally has room for visitors (see www.ryegolfclub.co.uk for information) however if you are playing with a member or visiting for a tournament then our hut offers a lovely accommodation option and couldn’t be much closer!
The Walland and Romney Marshes cover around 100 square miles of coastal marshland with an enormous number of points of interest and are a particular favourite of walkers, birdwatchers, poets and artists. The area is valued for its outstanding natural environment and beautifully unusual landscape. It is an internationally recognised area for wintering and breeding birds, with over 20,000 bird species over the non-breeding season. Much of it is laid to agriculture and livestock but there are many footpaths and bridleways to explore, just mind the ditches! For more information on the lighthouses, churches, ancient towns, model railways, nature reserves and forts visit www.theromneymarsh.net.
For those of you who would like to see some more of the area, the beautiful and rather smart medieval market town of Rye is under a 10 minute drive away and offers many shops, cafes, bars and restaurants, as well as art galleries and any number of antiques shops.
Rye is an historic Cinque Port town and has a very distinctive and beautiful skyline as it rises above the marsh in its fortified hill top setting. St Mary’s Church offers fabulous views over the marsh over terracotta roofs and ancient cobbled streets. As a result of its interest and beauty, Rye is often featured in films and documentaries and is worth a visit to discover more about the smuggling past of this extremely pretty town.
Hastings and Further afield
A 25 – 40 minute drive into East Sussex will take you to a great many lovely villages and towns, country houses, castles and national parks. Hastings Old Town is a muddle of old Sussex tiled, weather boarded and brick town houses, clustered around narrow streets and tiny squares. It is very different to its more commercial bigger brother, Hastings, and has a very trendy feel to it. It will not disappoint you with its collection of antiques and bric-a-brac shops, galleries, delis and bars. The rather lovely Butlers Emporium on George Street is in the heart of the old town in a beautiful old building with sky high ceilings and carries a large and varied range of goods, including vintage fabrics, grain sacks (our linen bolster cushion, runner fabric for the bathroom blind and coffee mugs are all from here), galvanised buckets and bowls, ceramics and stone ware… the list is endless. This shop is really a gem and we defy you to leave without buying something! Another particular favourite is A G Hendy homestore by writer, photographer and food writer Alastair Hendy and is crammed to the gills with unusual household items, from ostrich feather dusters and enamelware to antique furniture and copper baths.
The rest of the old town’s style follows suit and leads down towards the harbour which is home to a large and thriving fishing community. A visit there finds huge trawlers, wheeling seagulls and weathered fishermen selling their catches of the day in-front of the distinctive tar coated net huts where nets used to be hung to dry.
On the harbour, The Jerwood Gallery (www.jerwoodgallery.org) is the award winning home to many temporary exhibitions, as well as a very good permanent collection and sits to the eastern point of the harbour with a highly reccomended café and restaurant.
Cranbrook, Tenterden and Battle in the other directions are all around 35 minutes away and are similarly pretty and definitely worth seeing. All have an array of more mainstream shopping options, very good restaurants and are an excellent place to spend a day. Tenterden is also home to the award winning Chapel Down vineyard (www.chapeldown.com) which counts Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver amongst its fans, has a super restaurant and café and also offers guided tours. As the leading wine producer in the country it is certainly somewhere worth visiting!
This area really has got a wide range of things to do, whether you are interested in antiques, architecture or castles or beautiful houses, but one of the biggest draws is certainly the wildlife and birdwatching. The marsh is home to a great many unusual species of birds and the saltmarshes foster special plants that tolerate this level of salt. The Rye Harbour Nature Reserve (www.wildrye.info) is an amazing area for wildlife and covers a large area just to the west of Rye, about a 10 minute drive from us. It has five birdwatching hides that look out over the saline lagoons, reed beds and vegetated shingle and the thousands of Oystercatchers, Ringed Plover and Avocets that live there. Miles of footpaths provide a lovely way to explore the reserve in a very peaceful and unspoilt environment.