New lease of life for Reserve


Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve heard chairman John Barnes announced at last Saturday’s packed annual meeting that a substantial six-figure legacy had been finally received, after resolving legal complications. This would largely pay for a new and larger visitor centre on the site of Lime Kiln Cottage, to be completed within the next three years.

The Environment Agency had agreed in principle to transfer ownership of the property to Sussex Wildlife Trust, in partnership with the Friends, who would manage the facility on a long-term lease. Lime Kiln Cottage had become increasingly derelict over the years and was unsuited for educational purposes, Barnes said.

The planning process and local consultations could now commence. During the construction period, two portakabins on stilts at road level would serve as temporary accommodation. Praising the generosity of the members, the chairman urged that further funding donations would be required to complete the equipping of the new centre to the requisite standard.

Further good news was that the foreshore above high water would come into the Reserve’s ownership. Negotiations with Rother District Council could also see some land on the other side of the estuary being transferred into the Reserve.

Treasurer David Powell presented the accounts, advising that insurance monies in compensation for last year’s flooding amounted to £88,000. The solar panel on manager Barry Yates’ roof had contributed a profit for the funds of £886. Overall income was £57,734 down £6,638, giving a deficit on the year of £2,185.

Cliff Dean, 40 years a local resident and a former teacher at St Thomas’ Primary School in Winchelsea, was voted in as new chairman. He introduced James Power from Sussex Wildlife Trust, who gave an illustrated talk about its work in conserving nature. This was followed by ‘A pictorial year on the Reserve’ from Barry Yates, concluding another both informative and entertaining annual meeting.



Photo : Mike Slavin

Previous articleGood performances for the Bay
Next articleBarking mad at St Mary’s