About the reserve | Rye Harbour Nature Reserve
Rye Harbour Hide

About the Nature Reserve

The Local Nature Reserve at Rye Harbour was established in 1970

Watch Rye Harbour Nature Reserve - a Special Place

This nature reserve has these national and international designations for its widllife:

  • Local Nature Reserve - designated in 1970 by the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949
  • Dungeness, Romney Marsh and Rye Bay SSSI – designated in 2006 by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
  • Dungeness, Romney Marsh and Rye Bay Special Protection Area – SPA - 4,010 ha designated in 2016 by the Conservation of Wild Birds, EC Directive, 1979.
  • Dungeness Special Area of Conservation – SAC - 3,241 ha designated in 2005 by the Conservation of Habitats, EU Directive, 1992. 
  • Dungeness, Romney Marsh and Rye Bay Ramsar Site – designated in 2016 by the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, 1971.

In 2011, Sussex Wildlife Trust took over management of the reserve, which covers 465ha (or 600 football pitches) of flat, open, low-lying ground. 

The high points are the crests of shingle storm ridges, built up by tides and storms. The low points are between the ridges where saltmarsh has developed.

Sea defences built over the last 100 years have reduced the influence of the sea, and a drainage system empties water into the rivers, lowering the water table. This means grazing can take place on the reserve. 

Within the nature reserve we have a wide variety of different habitats, including:

  • intertidal  (the area above water level at low tide and underwater at high tide)
  • saltmarsh 
  • shingle ridges 
  • sand
  • marsh 
  • scrub 
  • woodland 

Because of this, we support a large number of species - 4,523 recorded so far, including 736 that have a conservation status.

In this section

Management of the nature reserve

Management of the nature reserve

The partners of the nature reserve can be found here.
Publications and reports

Publications and reports

Booklets, leaflets and reports about Rye Harbour nature reserve

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