Rye stands on a hill above the low lying expanse of Romney Marshes. A thousand years ago it was surrounded by sea and was an important harbour and became a Royal Borough, running its own affairs raising taxes and operating its own judicial system. It was one of the Cinque Ports, responsible for supplying ships and men to defend the coast against French raiders. A fire following a raid in was a devastating French raid on the town destroyed nearly all the buildings.
The centre of Rye has hardly changed over the years and still has many narrow cobbled streets lined with Medieval, Tudor and Georgian buildings. It is a delight to explore on foot.
There is no by pass and traffic still struggles through the centre of the town with a one way system along Cinque Ports Street and High Street. Although there are small car parks around the edge of the town, there is still on street parking along both these roads, further adding to the congestion. This is a place that needs to be explored on foot.
The sea has since retreated and is now about two miles from the town. “Rye Harbour Nature Reserve”:https://rye.sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk/ is now an important wildlife habitat with shingle beaches, salt lagoons, saltmarsh scrub and reed beds.
“Information leaflet and map”:https://www.ryesussex.co.uk/pdfs/rye-guide.pdf