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Wild Rye: Discover Our Wetland Wildlife

Bittern in Winter


The main objectives for management of the Nature Reserve can be summarised in three, roughly equal parts;

  • the recording of species.
  • the management of species and habitats
  • the encouragement of public enjoyment and appreciation of the Nature Reserve

This is achieved with the following;

The Management Committee

The Nature Reserve is managed and administered by the Management Committee, which is a committee of voting members nominated by, and representing, various bodies; East Sussex County Council, Rother District Council, Environment Agency, Sussex Wildlife Trust, Sussex Ornithological Society, British Association for Shooting and Conservation, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, Icklesham Parish Council, Rye Town Council and two private landowners.

The committee meets four times a year and appoints two honorary officers, Secretary and Treasurer. A management agreement is signed by the main partners highlighted above.

There is also a Conservation Sub-committee that considers matters of a practical nature concerning the Nature Reserve and its management. It consists of interested individuals with knowledge of the area and its wildlife and experience in land management. It meets about four weeks before the Management Committee and reports to it.

The Staff

The Nature Reserve had a summer Warden from 1970-1977, then a full-time Warden since 1977. From 1980-1983 and 1989-1992 there was an additional summer Warden. Since 1993 there were two full-time staff and since 2003 there have been four. This additional staffing has only been possible through the continuing support of the Friends and other partners of the Nature Reserve.

Presently these are;

  • Manager - Dr. Barry Yates (since April 1984)
  • Warden - Christopher Bentley (since January 2004)
  • Warden - Sam Smith (since April 2003)
  • Community Wildlife Officer - Lucy Bowyer (since September 2009)

The staff now work with the Sussex Wildlife Trust. They are responsible for the day to day running of the Nature Reserve with patrolling, recording, report writing, practical management (including the supervision of volunteers and contractors), and liaising with all interested people.

The Management Plan

A detailed description of the Nature Reserve and its management is revised every five years and agreed by the Management Committee. It provides the framework for the work that is necessary on a day to day and season by season basis to ensure that the three main objectives above are realised.

Download The Nature Reserve Management Plan 2005-09 (10MB)

The Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

The Friends have been, and remain, vital to the success of the Nature Reserve. For more than thirty years they have provided funding, support and volunteers to achieve the aims set out for the Nature Reserve. click here to find out more...