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Rye Harbour

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Overview





Rye Harbour lies at the mouth of the River Rother, which empties into the English Channel about twenty-five miles south-westward of Dover. It offers drying berths either in the harbour area, close within the river entrance, or alongside the quays of the historic town.

Rye Harbour lies at the mouth of the River Rother, which empties into the English Channel about twenty-five miles south-westward of Dover. It offers drying berths either in the harbour area, close within the river entrance, or alongside the quays of the historic town.

Upriver and dried out twice a day, the river offers complete protection. Access is straightforward night or day but navigation is limited by a bar that fronts the entrance and dries to a metre. The tidal range here is large enough to provide ample water to clear the bar at high water. Newcomers should plan to arrive a couple of hours before high water and no later than an hour after. In strong onshore winds, the seas in Rye Bay can be very rough with the seas often breaking well off-shore. The river should not be approached with onshore winds, southeast round to southwest, of force 6 or greater. Stronger winds cause the sea to break heavily on the bar rendering it completely inaccessible.



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Keyfacts for Rye Harbour



Last modified
January 24th 2019

Summary* Restrictions apply

A completely protected location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Water hosepipe available alongsideWaste disposal bins availableDiesel fuel available alongsidePetrol available alongsideTop up fuel available in the area via jerry cansShop with basic provisions availableMini-supermarket or supermarket availableExtensive shopping available in the areaSlipway availableShore power available alongsideShore based toilet facilitiesShowers available in the vicinity or by arrangementHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPleasant family beach in the areaCashpoint or bank available in the areaPost Office in the areaInternet café in the areaInternet via a wireless access point availableDoctor or hospital in the areaPharmacy in the areaBus service available in the areaTrain or tram service available in the areaBicycle hire available in the area


Nature
Berth alongside a deep water pier or raft up to other vesselsVisitors moorings available, or possibly by club arrangementQuick and easy access from open waterNavigation lights to support a night approachSailing Club baseUrban nature,  anything from a small town of more 5,000 inhabitants  to a large cityHistoric, geographic or culturally significant location; or in the immediate vicinityA secure location

Considerations
Dangerous to enter when it is Beaufort force 6 or more from SE, SSE, S, SSW and SW.Restriction: rising tide required for accessRestriction: may be subject to a sand barNote: strong tides or currents in the area that require considerationNote: harbour fees may be charged



Position and approaches
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Haven position

50° 55.588' N, 000° 46.548' E

This is the position of the red painted tripod beacon, Fl.R.5s7m6M, that stands 30 metres seaward of the head of the West Groyne.

What is the initial fix?

The following Rye Harbour Initial Fix will set up a final approach:
50° 54.035' N, 000° 48.035' E
This is the position of the ‘Rye Fairway’ buoy, LFl.10s, moored about 2 miles south-southeast of the harbour entrance.


What are the key points of the approach?

Southeast England’s Coastal Overview for North Foreland to the Isle of Wight Route location provides approach details.

  • Time the approach for a couple of hours before high water and no later than an hour after.

  • From the ‘Rye Fairway’ buoy, LFl.10s, moored about 2 miles south-southeast of the entrance, contact the Harbour Master on VHF Ch 14 [Rye Harbour Radio] and advise them of your intentions.

  • Stear a course of 329° T towards the entrance.

  • Prepare for strong eddies when passing inside and a strong stream in the River Rother between high water and 1 hour.

  • Follow the marks up to Rye Harbour, come alongside and visit the Harbour Master. Those continuing up to Rye can take directions from the Harbour Master



Not what you need?
Click the 'Next' and 'Previous' buttons to progress through neighbouring havens in a coastal 'clockwise' or 'anti-clockwise' sequence. Below are the ten nearest havens to Rye Harbour for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Folkestone - 11.3 miles ENE
  2. Sovereign Harbour (Eastbourne Marina) - 11.6 miles WSW
  3. Dover - 14.6 miles ENE
  4. Newhaven - 17.8 miles WSW
  5. Brighton - 21.2 miles WSW
  6. Ramsgate - 21.2 miles NE
  7. Shoreham - 24.3 miles W
  8. Littlehampton - 31.3 miles W
  9. Dell Quay - 37.6 miles W
  10. Chichester Marina - 37.9 miles W
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Folkestone - 11.3 miles ENE
  2. Sovereign Harbour (Eastbourne Marina) - 11.6 miles WSW
  3. Dover - 14.6 miles ENE
  4. Newhaven - 17.8 miles WSW
  5. Brighton - 21.2 miles WSW
  6. Ramsgate - 21.2 miles NE
  7. Shoreham - 24.3 miles W
  8. Littlehampton - 31.3 miles W
  9. Dell Quay - 37.6 miles W
  10. Chichester Marina - 37.9 miles W
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

Resources search



How to get in?
Strand Quay, Rye at low water
Image: Michael Harpur


The historic town of Rye sits on a low hill, which rises above the surrounding reclaimed marshland, or levels. It is situated at the junction of the River Brede, approaching from the south, the River Tillingham flowing in from the west, and the River Rother which flows from the north. The River Rother continues southwards from Rye to reach the sea at Rye Bay and the town stands about 2 miles northwest of the river mouth situated near the head of the bay. The town is one of the oldest ports in England and one of the countries historic Cinque Ports.


Rye Harbour Office ¾ of a mile above the entrance
Image: Michael Harpur


Rye Harbour is located 1½ miles downstream of the town and about ¾ of a mile within the river entrance. It is a fully operational commercial harbour with a large fishing and leisure fleet. The port and its approaches dry out to a ½ mile from the entrance. Because it is difficult to enter and dries, the harbour is mostly used by pleasure craft that can take to the mud.

The entrance, which lies between two training walls, has a sandbar close to the heads of the piers that dries to 1.4 CD. But the large tidal ranges experienced here provide ample depth for leisure boats to pass over the bar with up to 4.7 metres of water.

Vessels of up to 25 metres can be accommodated near the Harbour Office just above the entrance which dries to hard mud and shale. Visiting boats of up to 15 metres LOA can generally be accommodated in the softer muds at Strand Quay in the town itself. All vessels take to the ground at low water.

A vessel intending upon visiting Rye should call the Harbour Master on VHF Ch 14 [Rye Harbour Radio] before any approach is made and monitor CH 14 at all times in the approaches. Alternatively P: +44 1797 225225.


Harbour Office IPTS signal mast
Image: Michael Harpur


Traffic signals are displayed from the Harbour Office signal mast during times of commercial shipping movements in the harbour area. During these times International Port Traffic Signals (IPTS) Signals 2 & 5 are shown to seaward, visible for 3 miles, and amber lights will flash on the harbour office roof. These are only switched on when there are commercial traffic movements. When lighted all vessels must keep clear of the entrance and the main channel. If there is any doubt the Harbour Master will advise.


The "River Pride" occupying the channel as it squeezes into Rye Harbour
Image: © Michael


Convergance Point Offshore details are available in the southeast England’s Coastal Overview for North Foreland to the Isle of Wight Route location. The entrance to the river lies at the head of Rye Bay. Some banks, including Boulder Banks, Tower Knoll, and Fairlight Knoll, lie in the west part of the bay on which the sea builds in bad weather. Apart from these, and a Historic Wreck close inshore of the shoals, the bay is clear of outline dangers.

There are, however, numerous anchored gill nets in the bay. These are usually marked at each end by can buoys and have a minimum depth of water over them of 2 metres.


The harbour entrance River Rother
Image: Michael Harpur


Initial fix location This is the position of the ‘Rye Fairway’ buoy, LFl.10s, moored about 2 miles south-southeast of the harbour entrance that may be directly approached from seaward at high water. A course of 329°T, keeping the port and starboard entrance markers wide open, leads into the entrance. The marks should stand out distinctively as the land on either side of the river mouth is flat and featureless.

Rye tripod beacon standing seaward of the West Groyne
Image: Marathon via CC BY-SA 2.0
The harbour entrance is 42 metres wide and is marked by a red painted tripod beacon, Fl.R.5s7m6M, that stands 30 metres seaward of the West Groyne. The depth of water over the bar may be ascertained in daylight from the horizontal timbers of the tripod structure. These are set at 1.5, 3 and 4.5 metres above CD.
Please note

Vessels approaching from the west should not cut between the tripod and the head of the West Groyne as they are connected by a low wall.



Immediately inside the West Groyne and running somewhat parallel to it is the low west training wall which submerges at high water. Its position is well marked by a series of lit port beacons that continue to mark the pathway up to Rye.

The low west training wall immediately inside the West Groyne at low water
Image: Michael Harpur


The helm should be prepared for strong eddies, usually with an easterly set, when passing inside the West Groyne during the flood stream. Likewise, expect a strong stream in the River Rother that can attain a maximum flood rate of 5 knots on spring tides and reaches this maximum velocity between high water and 1 hour.


The East Pier at high water
Image: Marathon via CC BY-SA 2.0


The East Pier, which covers at high water springs, commences 240 metres above the head of the West Groyne. It has a green floodlit square steel structure at its head with a green board ‘Welcome to Rye’ at the top, Q(9)15s7m5M Horn(1)7s, as well as a tide gauge. The covered wall is also marked by lit starboard beacons that continue to Rye.


Fishing boat passing out between the piers
Image: © Michael


Within the piers, the channel narrows to 30 metres and continues to run straight on 329° T for just under ¾ of a mile to Rye Harbour. Follow the well marked channel which is protected from all weather conditions, up to the outer harbour. Max speed within the river is 6kn.


Rye Harbour
Image: Michael Harpur


Rye village will be seen on the west bank and the Harbour Master’s office on the east bank. All new arrivals must stop at the visitor’s jetty on the east bank and report to the harbour office for berthing instructions and further navigation information.


Rye Harbour berths alongside the piles immediately above the harbour office
Image: Michael Harpur


Haven location The main commercial quay is a 180 metres long stretch of piles that is floodlit at night. It can take vessels of up to 85 metres LOA with a draught of 4.5 metres at high water springs by arrangement with the Harbour Master.


Mooring area alongside the piles
Image: Michael Harpur


Rafting up is not permitted owing to the strength of tidal streams in the river and ample lines are advisable when mooring here. The berths dry to a hard mud and shingle mix and yachts may expect to lie afloat for about four hours.

The Rock Channel (River Brede) connecting to the River Rother
Image: Michael Harpur


For those continuing up to Strand Quay, at Rye, follow the River Rother as it narrows to 20 metres northward. It is marked on either side by beacons, light beacons and withies.


The Rock Channel (River Brede) at high water
Image: Croylelond via CC BY-SA 2.0


Strand Quay is entered via the Rock Channel within the River Brede that joins the river from the west (port side) a little over a mile above the harbour area. The entrance is marked by port and starboard buoys, No. 29 and No. 40. From there continue southwestward along the Rock Channel until it bends north to Strand Quay.


The Rock Channel (River Brede) passing south-westward around Rye
Image: Michael Harpur


Strand Quay can accommodate vessels of up to 20 metres LOA with a draught 2.7 metres at HW springs. It dries to soft mud.

Boats dried out in the soft muds of Strand Quay
Image: Michael Harpur



Why visit here?
Rye derives its name from the Old English word meaning ‘island’. The name was characteristically used to describe a settlement on an area of high land surrounded by wetlands. This aptly describes the setting of the historic town today, sited on a low hill above its reclaimed marshlands, or levels.

King Edward the Confessor and Harold Godwinson
Image: Bayeux Tapestry Public Domain
Situated where the English Channel is at its narrowest, Rye was often the first port of call for a vessel crossing from northwest Europe. Probably as early as Roman times, Rye was important as a place of shipment and storage of iron from the Wealden iron industry. It is believed that the first mention of Rye was as the unnamed fishing village, or town, recorded in the 11th century being in the extensive manor of Rameslie. A charter of Æthelred II, 1005, relating to Eynsham Abbey, refers to Rameslie and its port, or hythe, which is believed to be Rye. The municipal borough was recorded to have a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 councillors and an area of 985 acres. Back then Rye was located on a huge embayment of the English Channel called the Rye Camber, which provided a safe anchorage and harbour.

Rye, along with lands around Winchelsea and Hastings, were given to the Benedictine Abbey of Fécamp in Normandy by King Cnut (c. 995 1035), to honour a promise made by his wife Emma. The area would remain in Norman hands until 1247. At the time when the monks were settling in, the Saxon King Edward the Confessor, who reigned from 1042 to 1066, first formalised the Cinque Ports arrangement that would soon become important for Rye.


Map of Kent Cinque Ports
Image: Clem Rutter via CC BY SA 2.0


The scheme, pronounced ‘sink’ ports with its name being derived from the Norman French meaning ‘five ports’, was a confederation of the key eastern English Channel coastal towns of Kent and Sussex for military and trade purposes. Located where the crossing to the continent is at its narrowest, the towns were offered inducements, which included exemption from tax and rights to self-rule, for providing ships and men to meet the military, transportation and defensive needs of their royal masters. The head ports at the time were Hastings, Romney, Hythe, Dover and Sandwich. Over time these head ports turned to their neighbouring towns and villages which became known as limbs, for help in providing ships and men. In return these limbs shared in the privileges and Rye, as well as Winchelsea, which were formally recognised as Antient Townes’ became limbs of Hastings.

Seal of the barons of Hastings
Image: CC0
The protection of the Cinque Ports became important owing to the military significance and their commercial wealth which made them attractive to plunder. When Rye was returned to the English crown, by Henry III in 1247, it underwent regeneration and fortification. This was begun with the building of the town wall and four gates. Not long after, in 1260, King Henry III collectively granted the Cinque Ports their earliest known charter, and Rye went on to become a full member of the Cinque Ports Confederation, in 1336, where it henceforth enjoyed equal status to the five original head ports.

Rye and Winchelsea soon outstripped the importance of the head port of Hastings and, despite constant work required to stop the gradual silting of the river and the harbour, Rye was considered to be one of the finest of the Cinque Ports. But the fluctuations of the sea and French attacks would commence a process of decline during the 13th and 14th centuries.


The remains of Rye Castle
Image: Funkdooby via CC BY-SA 2.0


Chief amongst these elements were violent storms of the 13th-century. They entirely washed away Old Winchelsea, cut Rye off from the sea and changed the course of the Rother to leave Rye at the confluence of the rivers Brede, Tillingham and Rother. Then, in about 1375, the sea and the river combined to destroy the eastern part of the town of Rye. After this, ships used the river estuary to approach the town and unloaded at The Strand, just below the location of the current main road bridge.


The Landgate
Image: DeFacto via ASA 4.0


Rye was then subjected to many attacks from the French but, but just two years after the dramatic shift of the river, the town was almost entirely raised to the ground by a French attach that carried away the bells of St. Mary’s Church. But the men of Rye and surrounding districts sought revenge and set sail for France executing a successful retaliation. They returned with the bells and an assortment of other goods that happened to include items which had been stolen during previous French attacks. In the reign of Edward III the town walls were rebuilt and strengthened as a defence against these raiders. The strength of this defence was tested when the French invaded again in 1449, once more setting fire to buildings, but failing to cause anything near the scale of devastation experienced previously. After this further modernisation of the town's defences were implemented and again during the 16th-century.


The Mermaid Inn
Image: Richard Rogerson via CC BY-SA 2.0
The loss of Winchelsea to the sea contributed to the partial revival of Rye in the 15th and 16th-centuries when it was a chief port of passage. But towards the end of the 16th-century, the decay of the port began in earnest. Notwithstanding frequent attempts to improve the harbour, it never recovered its ancient prosperity. The town had no charter distinct from that of the Cinque Ports federation and which itself had fallen into decline. The rise of Southampton and the need for larger ships that could be crewed by 21 men, placed a heavy burden on relatively small fishing communities and declining trading ports. To further exacerbate the situation landsmen and those with port interests were also clashing as surrounding landowners gradually reclaimed land from the sea on the Romney and Walland Marsh. This in turn reduced the tidal flows required to keep the harbour free of silt.


Hawkhurst Gang raiding the Customs House in Poole
Image: CC0
By the end of the 17th-century, Rye's trading economy had all but disappeared. Fishing and particularly smuggling, including ‘owling’ the smuggling of wool, became its only mainstays. During the following century, the notorious 1740s & 50s Hawkhurst Gang of smugglers used the town’s Mermaid Inn as a secondary headquarters. Here they would sit with loaded weapons on the table making plans that did not stop at murder, and no magistrate would dare to interfere with them. During the 1803–1805 Napoleonic invasion threat, Rye, Dover, and Chatham were regarded as the three most likely invasion ports, and Rye became the western command centre for the Royal Military Canal. The canal was planned from Pett Level to Hythe but was not completed until long after the threat had passed.


St. Mary the Virgin Rye
Image: John Salmon via CC BY-SA 2.0


Today a small fishing fleet operates from the harbour area and the port still receives commercial shipping, but pleasure boats are more often seen than any other craft. The town’s economy, with its ample hotels, guest houses, B&Bs, tea rooms, and restaurants now relies heavily on tourism as its mainstay.

Streets of Rye
Image: Helmut Zozmann via CC BY-SA 2.0
Many towns boast a colourful past but have little evidence to show of it, but Rye can bear testimony to its eventful past. For as though suspended in time, Rye’s unhurried atmosphere, cobbled streets and narrow passages wears its history openly. Architectural treasures that include beautifully preserved Medieval, Tudor and Georgian buildings are dotted throughout the small town. Most notable among these is the church of St. Mary the Virgin, that has overlooked the town for almost a millennium, The Ypres Tower and Land Gate stand as the most prominent remains of the town’s defences. The Mermaid Inn, and The Olde Bell Inn, which are said to be connected to each other by a secret passageway, are still as they were when the notorious Hawkhurst Gang used them to plot and scheme at their tables.

From the sailing point of view, it is this charming historic nature that makes Rye an attractive visit. Lying alongside its quay in perfect safety, far removed from any reach of foul conditions, gently resting in its muds, and with everything just a short stroll away, makes Rye a must visit location.


What facilities are available?
Power is available alongside, with water and shower facilities available at both locations. Marine diesel, petrol and water are available at Rye Harbour, and also at Sandrock Marina in the Rock Channel, tide permitting in both cases. Most provisions are readily available at Rye.


With thanks to:
eOceanic


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Please zoom out to see the 'initial fix' for this location.
The above plots are not precise and indicative only.




Rye Harbour, Sussex, England
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Harbour Office and berthing area alongside the piles
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Harbour Master's boat alongside
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Rye Sailing Club
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


The Rock Channel (River Brede) at low water
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Rye as seen from the Rock Channel at low water
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Strand Quay, Rye
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Strand Quay, Rye
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Strand Quay power facilities
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Strand Quay at high water
Image: eOceanic thanks Chris McAuley via CC BY-SA 2.0
About Rye Harbour

Rye derives its name from the Old English word meaning ‘island’. The name was characteristically used to describe a settlement on an area of high land surrounded by wetlands. This aptly describes the setting of the historic town today, sited on a low hill above its reclaimed marshlands, or levels.

King Edward the Confessor and Harold Godwinson
Image: Bayeux Tapestry Public Domain
Situated where the English Channel is at its narrowest, Rye was often the first port of call for a vessel crossing from northwest Europe. Probably as early as Roman times, Rye was important as a place of shipment and storage of iron from the Wealden iron industry. It is believed that the first mention of Rye was as the unnamed fishing village, or town, recorded in the 11th century being in the extensive manor of Rameslie. A charter of Æthelred II, 1005, relating to Eynsham Abbey, refers to Rameslie and its port, or hythe, which is believed to be Rye. The municipal borough was recorded to have a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 councillors and an area of 985 acres. Back then Rye was located on a huge embayment of the English Channel called the Rye Camber, which provided a safe anchorage and harbour.

Rye, along with lands around Winchelsea and Hastings, were given to the Benedictine Abbey of Fécamp in Normandy by King Cnut (c. 995 1035), to honour a promise made by his wife Emma. The area would remain in Norman hands until 1247. At the time when the monks were settling in, the Saxon King Edward the Confessor, who reigned from 1042 to 1066, first formalised the Cinque Ports arrangement that would soon become important for Rye.


Map of Kent Cinque Ports
Image: Clem Rutter via CC BY SA 2.0


The scheme, pronounced ‘sink’ ports with its name being derived from the Norman French meaning ‘five ports’, was a confederation of the key eastern English Channel coastal towns of Kent and Sussex for military and trade purposes. Located where the crossing to the continent is at its narrowest, the towns were offered inducements, which included exemption from tax and rights to self-rule, for providing ships and men to meet the military, transportation and defensive needs of their royal masters. The head ports at the time were Hastings, Romney, Hythe, Dover and Sandwich. Over time these head ports turned to their neighbouring towns and villages which became known as limbs, for help in providing ships and men. In return these limbs shared in the privileges and Rye, as well as Winchelsea, which were formally recognised as Antient Townes’ became limbs of Hastings.

Seal of the barons of Hastings
Image: CC0
The protection of the Cinque Ports became important owing to the military significance and their commercial wealth which made them attractive to plunder. When Rye was returned to the English crown, by Henry III in 1247, it underwent regeneration and fortification. This was begun with the building of the town wall and four gates. Not long after, in 1260, King Henry III collectively granted the Cinque Ports their earliest known charter, and Rye went on to become a full member of the Cinque Ports Confederation, in 1336, where it henceforth enjoyed equal status to the five original head ports.

Rye and Winchelsea soon outstripped the importance of the head port of Hastings and, despite constant work required to stop the gradual silting of the river and the harbour, Rye was considered to be one of the finest of the Cinque Ports. But the fluctuations of the sea and French attacks would commence a process of decline during the 13th and 14th centuries.


The remains of Rye Castle
Image: Funkdooby via CC BY-SA 2.0


Chief amongst these elements were violent storms of the 13th-century. They entirely washed away Old Winchelsea, cut Rye off from the sea and changed the course of the Rother to leave Rye at the confluence of the rivers Brede, Tillingham and Rother. Then, in about 1375, the sea and the river combined to destroy the eastern part of the town of Rye. After this, ships used the river estuary to approach the town and unloaded at The Strand, just below the location of the current main road bridge.


The Landgate
Image: DeFacto via ASA 4.0


Rye was then subjected to many attacks from the French but, but just two years after the dramatic shift of the river, the town was almost entirely raised to the ground by a French attach that carried away the bells of St. Mary’s Church. But the men of Rye and surrounding districts sought revenge and set sail for France executing a successful retaliation. They returned with the bells and an assortment of other goods that happened to include items which had been stolen during previous French attacks. In the reign of Edward III the town walls were rebuilt and strengthened as a defence against these raiders. The strength of this defence was tested when the French invaded again in 1449, once more setting fire to buildings, but failing to cause anything near the scale of devastation experienced previously. After this further modernisation of the town's defences were implemented and again during the 16th-century.


The Mermaid Inn
Image: Richard Rogerson via CC BY-SA 2.0
The loss of Winchelsea to the sea contributed to the partial revival of Rye in the 15th and 16th-centuries when it was a chief port of passage. But towards the end of the 16th-century, the decay of the port began in earnest. Notwithstanding frequent attempts to improve the harbour, it never recovered its ancient prosperity. The town had no charter distinct from that of the Cinque Ports federation and which itself had fallen into decline. The rise of Southampton and the need for larger ships that could be crewed by 21 men, placed a heavy burden on relatively small fishing communities and declining trading ports. To further exacerbate the situation landsmen and those with port interests were also clashing as surrounding landowners gradually reclaimed land from the sea on the Romney and Walland Marsh. This in turn reduced the tidal flows required to keep the harbour free of silt.


Hawkhurst Gang raiding the Customs House in Poole
Image: CC0
By the end of the 17th-century, Rye's trading economy had all but disappeared. Fishing and particularly smuggling, including ‘owling’ the smuggling of wool, became its only mainstays. During the following century, the notorious 1740s & 50s Hawkhurst Gang of smugglers used the town’s Mermaid Inn as a secondary headquarters. Here they would sit with loaded weapons on the table making plans that did not stop at murder, and no magistrate would dare to interfere with them. During the 1803–1805 Napoleonic invasion threat, Rye, Dover, and Chatham were regarded as the three most likely invasion ports, and Rye became the western command centre for the Royal Military Canal. The canal was planned from Pett Level to Hythe but was not completed until long after the threat had passed.


St. Mary the Virgin Rye
Image: John Salmon via CC BY-SA 2.0


Today a small fishing fleet operates from the harbour area and the port still receives commercial shipping, but pleasure boats are more often seen than any other craft. The town’s economy, with its ample hotels, guest houses, B&Bs, tea rooms, and restaurants now relies heavily on tourism as its mainstay.

Streets of Rye
Image: Helmut Zozmann via CC BY-SA 2.0
Many towns boast a colourful past but have little evidence to show of it, but Rye can bear testimony to its eventful past. For as though suspended in time, Rye’s unhurried atmosphere, cobbled streets and narrow passages wears its history openly. Architectural treasures that include beautifully preserved Medieval, Tudor and Georgian buildings are dotted throughout the small town. Most notable among these is the church of St. Mary the Virgin, that has overlooked the town for almost a millennium, The Ypres Tower and Land Gate stand as the most prominent remains of the town’s defences. The Mermaid Inn, and The Olde Bell Inn, which are said to be connected to each other by a secret passageway, are still as they were when the notorious Hawkhurst Gang used them to plot and scheme at their tables.

From the sailing point of view, it is this charming historic nature that makes Rye an attractive visit. Lying alongside its quay in perfect safety, far removed from any reach of foul conditions, gently resting in its muds, and with everything just a short stroll away, makes Rye a must visit location.

Other options in this area


Click the 'Next' and 'Previous' buttons to progress through neighbouring havens in a coastal 'clockwise' or 'anti-clockwise' sequence. Alternatively here are the ten nearest havens available in picture view:
Coastal clockwise:
Sovereign Harbour (Eastbourne Marina) - 11.6 miles WSW
Newhaven - 17.8 miles WSW
Brighton - 21.2 miles WSW
Shoreham - 24.3 miles W
Littlehampton - 31.3 miles W
Coastal anti-clockwise:
Folkestone - 11.3 miles ENE
Dover - 14.6 miles ENE
Ramsgate - 21.2 miles NE
Bude Haven - 125.2 miles W
Mousehole - 152.7 miles W

Navigational pictures


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