“Spring won’t let me stay in this house any longer! I must get out and breathe the air deeply again.” Gustav Mahler. If that echoes your feelings after a long dark winter here are some suggestions for outings in and around Rye now that everything is re-awakening and re-opening.
Smallhythe Place, National Trust house and garden – re-opened March 2 (8 miles from Rye)
Ellen Terry’s early 16th-century house and cottage gardens. Check the National Trust website for opening times.
Lamb House, Rye. National Trust house and garden – re-opens March 19
Immerse yourself in Georgian splendour in the footsteps of the literary great. February was the centenary of the death of Henry James who lived and wrote at Lamb House. See Remembering Henry James for more information. Visit the Lamb House website for days and times of opening.
EF Benson, creator of Mapp and Lucia, which the BBC filmed in Rye in 2014, also lived in Lamb House. Mapp and Lucia Walks in Rye take place later in the year – starting in May. See the Benson Society website and get the dates in your diary.
Great Dixter house and gardens – re-opens March 25 (9 miles from Rye)
Winter Opening Weekend: Saturday and Sunday March 19-20, 10am-4pm
Great Dixter was the family home of gardener and gardening writer Christopher Lloyd – it was the focus of his energy and enthusiasm and fuelled over 40 years of books and articles. Now under the stewardship of Fergus Garrett and the Great Dixter Charitable Trust, Great Dixter is an historic house, a garden, a centre of education, and a place of pilgrimage for horticulturists from across the world. See website for opening times.
Rye Museum – East Street re-opens March 26
The Ypres Tower is thought to have been built in the early 14th century as part of the town’s defences and is the second oldest building open to the public in Rye (the oldest is St Mary’s church.) The Tower is open all year round but the Museum in East Street, which is the main exhibition area for Museum artefacts illustrating different aspects of Rye’s history, re-opens at Easter. See their website for details of opening times and dates.
Guided Historical Walking Tours of Rye. First Tour date – March 26 – 11am to 1pm
Rye Heritage Centre is offering a new opportunity to tour the town of Rye with local historian David Hopkins. Booking recommended
Rye Harbour Nature Reserve – Spring Sightings, Walks and Talks
In March, hundreds of wading birds such as oystercatchers and dunlins feed along the shore and congregate to roost on the sea bank at high tide. This is also the best month to see huge numbers of gulls gathering to roost along the beach at dusk. Migration may be evident offshore. Watch out for large flocks of Brent geese heading east and sea ducks such as common scoters may also be on the move. The reserve has reported on sightings recently.
Download spring activities, walks and talks from the Sussex Wildlife Trust website. There are many miles of path, with five birdwatching hides accessible to wheelchairs.
Spring walks in the wood
“Our woods are a delight to visit all year round, but spring is the jewel in the crown.”
The Woodland Trust website will help you find your nearest wood. Those near Rye include Guestling Wood, Beckley Woods and Brede High Wood. Follow the Woodland Trust’s advice on what to look out for in spring.
Photos courtesy of Great Dixter and the Woodland Trust