Local green and sustainable initiatives

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

This opinion voices the views of Oriana Marrs, aged 12 years and a new contributor to Rye News.

Comments will be moderated to reflect the age of the author, and our aim is to support young writers to contribute to Rye News.

After learning about the environmental award for Manningtree village, which was recently in the news for ending the use of single-use plastics in their businesses (see Manningtree: The tiny town that dreams of saving the planet – BBC News), I started to explore the green and sustainable initiatives offered in Rye and the surrounding areas.

Green spaces and activities:

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve – It is clear from when you walk into Rye Harbour Nature Reserve that it is a stunning place with a strong sense of community, caring about wildlife, and sharing it for all to benefit.

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve supports a huge number of species, of which 300 are rare and endangered. It has plenty of wheelchair and push-chair accessible paths, and longer circular routes for those who like to stretch their legs. There are also activities for children to join across different age groups, and a free car park (however donations are gratefully accepted).

Such a wonderful place as this does need maintenance, whether that is in the new Discovery Centre or with a volunteer group that helps the Rangers. You can support this reserve physically, or by joining the Friends, contributing towards making developments to offer even better opportunities for the area and for the wildlife to flourish.

Dungeness, Fairlight, and the Panel valley reserve (a less known opportunity located between Pett and Winchelsea) are also rich areas for supporting the biodiversity of wildlife, while offering wildlife corridors.

Iden Natural History Society – The society was formed in 1919, offering a long history of locals documenting the wildlife, contributing to the national understanding of ecology . The members share mutual links with the Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. (See Natural History Society’s centenary – Rye News).

Wilder Iden – This project aims to enable nature to  thrive across all sizes of land available, involving the engagement of the community in practical ways, such as planting, clearing and species recording.

Rye Community Garden – The Rye Community Garden is a growing initiative. Based just off of Love Lane, the Rye Community Garden is valuable for those who want to do gardening, while also getting involved in a real community effort.  They grow fresh produce that anyone can take, and offer the opportunity for social outdoor space. Everyone is welcome to join on the get-togethers on Saturday mornings from 10am.

Local Businesses:

Local Farm Shops – Locally based, offering local produce, farm shops can supply you with everything from bread and milk to meals and delicacies. There are many in the area around Rye, such as Salts Farm.

Tibbs Farm – For those of you looking for delicious local fruit, here is the place to go! Tibbs Farm  is the largest pick-you-own fruit farm in South East England. It also farms some Romney Sheep and has a café to offer a range of meals for everyone.

Farmers’ Market and Country Market – Weekly markets of local produce, offer low-production, low transport carbon-emissions and a sustainable approach to food consumption, as well as a socially active way to get your food and support locals. Further infomation see: Rye Farmers’ Market, and for the country market see: https://www.ryesussex.co.uk/directory/54/rye-country-market/ 

Beckley has recently launched its Farmers’ Market  (see Farmers’ market relaunches at Beckley – Rye News).

The Kind Table – An eco-friendly lifestyle store which recently opened in Rye on Market Road, offering household, personal care and food-stuffs. It re-uses, recycles and refills, offering 100% biodegradable and sustainable products. Mia, who works there, has many tips about practical household sustainable living. They use glass bottles and jars from other businesses within Rye in which to sell their produce, and would love to hear from other businesses within the town who may wish to join this recycling initiative – The Kind Table.

Jempson’s Peasmarsh – Actively supporting local farmers, Jempson’s supermarkets in Peasmarsh and in Rye offer a variety of tasty options. However, Jempson’s Peasmarsh particularly advocates refills and recyclable packaging, which are crucial to reducing single-use plastics. More of this approach would be welcome in the Rye branch (see Eating for our planet’s future – Rye News).

Rye Health Store – Less locally produced, but strong on the vegan and sustainable front, this is a useful shop in Rye for people who are looking for refills. They offer a large range of vitamins and “free-from” items, helpfully based in central Rye so easily accessible to all (See High Street zero-waste shopping – Rye News).

Rope Walk Arcade – Rope Walk has a range of shops, some of which offer sustainable approaches through repairs and up-cycling opportunities for clothing and computers.

Charity Shops and Antique Shops – Rye’s range of charity, bric-a-brac and antique shops offer opportunities for sustainable re-use and up-cycling of clothing, furniture and other items.

Groups and initiatives:

Transition Rye – An informed group of community-focused individuals offering initiatives such as “Green Drinks” and the “Swap Shop”. Members share and spread information about green initiatives and opportunities through their supportive network (Transition Rye – Building a sustainable future for Rye).

Rother Environmental Group – Rother Environmental Group offers an entire program of green events and lectures to broaden your knowledge. It is easy to join through their website and link to a new pool of fascinating initiatives and movements that are going on in your area.

Sussex Greenways –This initiative (Sussex Greenways | Greenways) is aiming to make walk, ride, and cycle friendly paths more common in our local area by connecting and extending routes. They also run “Quiet Lanes” (Sussex Greenways | Quiet Lanes), another way of supporting our local green and active travellers.

Bicycle Hire – This opportunity is available from near Rye Station, and E-Bikes are available to buy and hire on Rye Harbour Road, offering active green transport opportunities for locals as well as tourists.

Strandliners – Ever done a beach clean? Strandliners does that, but even more. Strandliners is dedicated to cleaning our rivers and our seas without only picking up and binning (see Cleaner Rivers, Cleaner Seas – Increasing public awareness of our environment through citizen science & community engagement ). They record all the data collected from each cleaning session to create a fact file on where the waste comes from, meaning that we have the information to stop it at source by working with partners global-wide, aiming to prevent the rubbish and pollution from getting anywhere it shouldn’t be.

These are just a few of the many opportunities which support Rye and our local villages to be a more sustainable communities, and hopefully we can work together to be an eco-friendly place to live and work. It could be popular and inspiring for tourists too (if they take their rubbish away with them!).

Please let us know of any more green and sustainable initiatives that are based locally in the comments below.

Image Credits: Stuart Conway http://www.StuartConway.com.


  1. Thank you Oriana for the above useful information.
    I suggest that this information is stored, added to, updated and made available to folk wanting to support green and sustainable local initiatives. I understand that Transition Rye may be able to provide this information on their website. Possibly a link in Rye news to remind us and for easy access?
    Last I heard Channons sell peat free compost.

  2. Would it be easier to say which shops and businesses are not trying to be environmentally responsible…
    As many do try hard to be responsible in their ethics of what they sell .
    Merchant and Mills are very eco…and Hunter Jones are an excellent life style shop plus they sell refill
    products.. …Market Road..

    One question are all biodegradable items truly biodegradable for individuals to deal with…as some can’t be composted at home . They can only be biodegradable by commercial companies…thus one has to just put them in the general rubbish…..as can not go into the home recycling collection by the council..


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