Parking at Rye Harbour


Very surprised to see gates added to the car park, with notice displaying “Gates closed at 7:30 pm”. What about people who work and want to walk to the shore and nature reserve in the nice warm evenings, often with their children. I am sure that there was never a restriction before. Will the next move be to charge a fee for parking?

Image Credits: J. Minter .

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  1. Those notices have been on the gates for at least the last 2 years. Shows how often you visit! Guess it’s probably to stop the ‘boy racers’ tearing around at night.

  2. Never been a problem parking on the road if visiting later in the evening. Gates and signs have been there for years. Used to say 8pm but changed to 7:30pm more recently.

  3. I went for a run there earlier in the year, made sure I returned back in time, in fact I was back by 7 & the gates had already been shut even though sign said 7:30

  4. Surely time for there to be a nominal fee for that carpark,which is used mostly for the nature reserve visitors, people visiting Rye and Camber are forced to pay charges,and the same should apply to the harbour visitors.

  5. Editor’s note : Parking in Rye and Camber (meters and car parks) is mainly run by East Sussex County Council and Rother District Council. My understanding is that Icklesham Parish Council runs the Rye Harbour car park.

  6. Interesting to hear that Icklesham parish council run the carpark, must cost a fortune to maintain each year, especially as other councils tell us they need the revenue to maintain their car parks,and use any surplus money for any other community needs.

    • There is a sign for contributions and a box to put change in to support maintenance of the toilets and carpark. You obviously haven’t been there judging by your comments.

  7. Yes i knew that,nearly a ryer.and i have contributed to it,on the odd occasion i venture to the harbour, and it would be interesting to know how much the revenue of other people’s generosity contributes to the upkeep of that large carpark.

  8. The gates and sign have been there for years. A resident on Tram Road is who locks it up each night with permission from IPC. This is to stop the “boy racers” using it and making a nuisance of themselves. Even when the gates are open people would still rather jam up the roads parking than park in there. Tram Road doesn’t have enough parking for the residents let along overspill that should be using the car park!

  9. There are no plans to introduce fees for parking – Icklesham Parish Council is happy with the voluntary donations it receives

  10. Correct me if I am wrong, please, but I recall an article here in the Rye News that mentioned a projected 400,000 visitors to the new discovery centre. As Emily points out, parking space for Tram Rd. residents is in short supply, as is the case in most of Rye Harbour. I’ve been thinking….parish car park holds how many cars, maybe 500? A fantasy scenario: just to make it easy, let’s say 365,000 visitors will be pitching up in cars. That leaves a projected 35,000 to arrive by bus, taxi, walking, bike etc.

    As this is a simple, what-if scenario, let’s say that, with 365 days a year, that averages 10,000 visitors a day. At 4 people per vehicle, maybe, that works out at 2,500 vehicles per day to be squeezed in to Rye Harbour, between the parish parking lot and the village at various times of the day, in and out. Coaches by the way cannot get into the parking lot due to height restrictions; they could park up all along Harbour Road, I guess. After all, Rye Harbour residents have learned to live with effectively 1 lane in and out of the village; if coaches park along both sides of Harbour Road, that road can be reduced to 1 lane, too.

    That’s a lot of parking for a lot of cars in a small village and a small car park. As for a traffic management plan for potentially thousands of vehicles in and out of the village on a daily basis, where can one find details on that?

    All corrections, especially to the arithmetic, welcome.

    • Maybe many of these projected numbers, like myself, will decide not to visit on the basis that they want to avoid crowds. Most people attracted to birdwatching and nature reserves seek and enjoy peace and tranquility. It’s impossible to achieve in crowds.

      • Maybe the crowds will be queuing up for the ‘destination’ café rather than for the wildlife, and peaceful birdwatching will be possible.

        Indeed, as described in the 11 January 2021 Sussex Wildlife Trust News update on their website, the café will aim to be pulling in it’s own crowds. As the manager puts it, “Essentially, I want to put it on the map as a destination café, delivering great customer service and serving fabulous food and drink.”

        I understand the the initial proposal presented to Rye Harbour villagers, when their views on the discovery centre project were solicited, referred to serving hot drinks and very limited light refreshments, e.g. ice creams. But hey, once things are in full swing, maybe loads of visitors won’t even make it out of the café, and you and other birdwatchers will indeed get peace and tranquillity in the hides and on the reserve.

        Too bad the residents of Rye Harbour seemed destined to re-arrange life to accommodate massively increased traffic activity, with its attendant road danger, increased air pollution [adding to the ongoing health menace of incredible levels of dust produced by the Long Rake Spar aggregate operations]. The likelihood of rampant rogue parking has been touched on above.

        Wouldn’t it be great if the human denizens of Rye Harbour could be assured the same level of peaceful enjoyment of life as the birds and wildlife enjoy, thanks to the efforts and funding by many good folks over the years? How about a ‘discovery centre’ for Rye Harbour villagers, where they can learn how to live with what is about to hit them?

    • Rye Harbour Nature Reserve say ‘that annual visitor numbers continue to increase with 356,310 visits estimated from hourly car park figures.’ These figures were for 2018 and can be found here:

      It would be good if they also released data on the number of cyclists and walkers who visit the Nature Reserve because that might help convince ESCC to work with Highways England to improve the dangerous A259/Harbour Road junction.

      • Somewhere in the Rye News reader comments a while back, in response to an article about the dangerous junction [I think that was the subject of the article, anyway], a reader wrote that the visitor numbers to which you refer above had been revised to 400,000 p.a.. I can’t find the comments again here so have no reference to offer for that, sorry.

        It is not hard to imagine that some unprecedented chaos in on the cards at the junction very soon indeed. One can only hope that it does not involve injury or worse.

  11. Would it be too much to consider a new car park on some of the industrial wasteland outside the residential area, and people had to walk or cycle a bit further to get there? Better for residents, surely.

    • Interesting idea, for sure. Is it not the case that a good part of the ‘wasteland’ is now in the possession of a major property development company that has been on a buying spree for some time, snapping up land [vacant or not] along local coastal spots? Some of the land in question along Harbour Road is classed as contaminated, is it not? Can car parks, or anything else, be constructed on contaminated land?

      At any rate, the very, very least that must be done is the refreshment of double yellow line road marking in Rye Harbour, ‘No Parking’ notices posted where appropriate, and some means of enforcement established. Already tourists park in the bus turning circle.

      If anyone has any information about where the traffic / parking management plan that must have been part of an initial proposal/ feasibility study for the discovery centre is to be found, I’d be most grateful for that information. I feel confident that this must have been carefully considered as part of the overall impact on Rye Harbour village life that such a centre would have.

  12. Diana Mueller asked for information on the traffic and parking considerations relating to the New Discovery Centre. The best place to look is on Rother’s Search Planning Applications website, put in the reference RR/2017/1785/P, click on documents and then look at the Report to Committee and the ESCC Highways response dated 07.09.17.

  13. There is a Rother district council sign on the car park gates stating the car park will be closed and locked at 8pm every night. However the gates have never been locked by the council for at least the last 8 yrs, leaving the residents of Tram road to be traumatised by the anti social behavior from early evening to the early hours. Thankfully, certain residents have kindly closed the gates themselves every night. This prevents public sleeping over night in the carpark, leaving their empty beer cans, bottles and waste. urinating and sometimes worse in the car park boundaries. It also stops drug dealers, boy racers and anti social behavior, which is very frightening for residents especially the elderly living on their own. The visitor centre closes at 4pm, so has nothing to do with the timing of car park gates being closed. What is confusing is, when and why Icklesham council ceased their obligation of locking the car park gates every evening at 8pm as their sign states; leaving the residents to tackle the horrendous anti social behavior that would normally occur, had it not been for the few residents that have had to take matters into their own hands. The locals could finally rest and sleep at night if the council would comply with their original promise of locking the gates every evening at 8pm

      • Hi Steve
        Thank you for your advice and yes I have contacted RDC.
        Apparently Icklesham Council lease the Car Park from Rother. Icklesham have now removed the gates from the car park so now they cannot be closed at all. Residents are up in arms because we are now unprotected. They didn’t even give prior notice or discuss this with us. They sent 2 men out Sat evening (18/12) when dark with no ID, no uniform and in a private white hatchback car!. When questioned on their actions one of the men phoned the council and called the person on the other end BABE . How very unprofessional. They left the gates at the back of the toilets.

  14. Icklesham Council have now removed he gates from the Rye Harbour Carpark without even discussing this with residents. So now we will be calling the police most nights and bothering them. No sleep for us when the teenagers are back spinning around, causing havoc and threatening us when we ask them to go. I wonder if the council will pick up the human waste left behind by campers that decide to set up home there. Well the residents wont be putting up with this.

  15. I’ve just read this discussion and can’t help wondering if it was in fact Icklesham Parish Council that removed the gates. Harbourite’s eye-witness account suggests otherwise. Late on a Saturday evening, no notice to residents, the unmarked car, the lack of i.d., the (surely phoney) phone-call (to a parish council on a Saturday night?) to “Babe”, dumping the gates behind Rother DC’s toilets, etc.? And what on earth could be the parish council’s motives? They (or Rother) would have to deal with overnight parking and illegal encampments, noise, litter, fly-tipping, etc. all at their own expense. Strangely, no word yet from the parish council either explaining or denying their actions. Could this be the work of persons intending to occupy the car park?


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