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 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 some footpaths have a good surface. There is a private road that runs through the Beach Reserve that is good for wheelchairs. On this route are two fully accessible hides and two with access for mobility scooters and some wheelchairs.
The Discovery Centre is open 10am-4pm and is accessible for wheelchair users - there is an access ramp into the centre and the exhibition, café and shop are all on one level. Accessible toilet facilities are available.
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. These 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 and routes displayed on the outside.
The Discovery Centre, which is run by staff and volunteers, is located 450m down the main access road. It is fully accessible and there are accessible toilets within it. It is open every day 10am-4pm, and has a shop and cafe, as well as lots of information about the special wildlife on the reserve.
From the Rye Harbour village 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 Discovery Centre is the first building you come to about 450m from the car park - here you can find out the latest wildlife sightings and information about the reserve as a whole . You can continue to the Beach Reserve hides for close views of breeding seabirds, ducks and waders and much, much more. Or you can take the longer route to Castle Water for good views of ducks, Cormorant, Marsh Harrier and Bittern.
- John Gooders Hide (700m from car park) - fully accessible.
- Guy Crittall Hide (2200m from car park) - fully accessible.
- Ray Parkes Hide (2200m from car park) - accessible to electric wheelchairs and scooters and some manual wheelchairs (loose stones along path).
- Steve Denny Hide (2200m from car park) - 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 but very challenging for manual wheelchairs.
Click here for the full footpath map on our reserve map page.
The Beach Reserve with its long tarmac road is particularly suitable for buggies and 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.
On the map below the
Red paths = easy paths for wheelchairs all year.
Dark blue paths = easy paths BUT DO NOT use when the lorry convoys are running (mid-week for a few winter months)
Lime green paths = moderately difficult routes for manual wheelchairs with some uneven and loose surface, but OK for most mobility scooters.
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.
ViewRanger Walking Route
This digital guide takes you on a circular tour of the nature reserve starting at Rye Station.
Exploring the wider countryside
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.
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.