We welcome all our visitors and work hard to make sure our facilities are accessible to everyone. If there is anything we can do to support you during your visit please don’t hesitate to let us know.
The Discovery Centre is fully accessible for wheelchair users. There is an access ramp into the Discovery Centre, and the exhibition, café and shop are all on one level.
Accessible toilet facilities are available as well as a Changing Places facility which includes a baby change area.
The nature reserve and birdwatching hides are open at all times, along a network of footpaths - these are shown on our reserve map page. Rye Harbour Nature Reserve is an ideal place for visitors with limited mobility because the ground is level and most footpaths have a good surface. There is a private road that runs through the Beach Reserve that is good for wheelchairs and all five birdwatching hides are accessible to some wheelchair users.
Access for disabled people
There is a large car park at Rye Harbour that is run by Icklesham Parish Council, who ask for a donation to fund this and the adjacent toilets. The toilets have facilities for disabled visitors who have a RADAR key (available from your local council).
In the car park, there is a kiosk with information displayed on the outside.
The Discovery Centre, which is run by staff and volunteers, is located 450m down the main access road. It is accessible and there are accessible toilets within it. It should be open every day, and has a shop and cafe, as well as lots of information about the special wildlife on the reserve. You can fill up your water bottle here.
- John Gooders Hide – fully accessible.
- Guy Crittall Hide – fully accessible.
- Ray Parkes Hide – accessible to electric wheelchairs and scooters and some manual wheelchairs (loose stones along path).
- Steve Denny Hide – accessible to electric wheelchairs and scooters and some manual wheelchairs (loose stones along path).
- Ken Halpin Hide – in dry weather accessible to electric wheelchairs and scooters; path not easy for manual wheelchairs.
From the car park, a private, tarmac road leads down to the River Mouth for some 1200 metres. Along this route there are regular (approx. 100m.) refuges with seating for you to stop and rest.
The first building you come to is the Discovery Centre, about 450m. The John Gooders Hide is 700m from the carpark and the Guy Crittall Hide, Ray Parkes Hide and Steve Denny Hide are a further 1500m. These hides give excellent close views of breeding seabirds, ducks and waders and much, much more. The Ken Halpin Hide is close to Camber Castle and overlooks Castle Water giving good views of ducks, Cormorant, Marsh Harrier and Bittern.
WARNING – the private road is used by some large vehicles, especially mid-week during the winter, so please use the refuges along the road to give them plenty of room to pass.
The Beach Reserve with its long tarmac road is particularly suitable for wheelchairs. Electric and some manual wheelchair users can get around the short circular route that takes in the Discovery Centre, River Mouth and the Gooders, Parkes and Denny Hides.
The Rye Bay Countryside area has a wealth of footpaths to explore, with most being fairly easy going. The area is mostly covered by the Ordnance Survey Explorer 125 map. Several circular routes are possible from our map of the nature reserve page.
For the more adventurous, several long-distance footpaths pass close by, including the 1066 Country Walk, the Saxon Shore Way, the High Weald Landscape Trail, the Sussex Border Path and the Royal Military Canal Path. Click here for more details.