High Weald

strandhouseStrand House has a fascinating history. Parts of the building date back to the 1200s, whilst the main house was built in 1425. Variously a farm and workhouse, it became a guest house in 1922 and the current owners have lovingly conserved its historic features, whilst still providing the modern luxuries you would expect from a guest house stay. The house’s garden even appears in “The Blind Girl” by pre-Raphelite artist John Millais.

Winchelsea, and nearby Rye, are fascinating places to explore on foot. They are former Cinque Ports sitting on prominent ridges and, now both over 1 mile inland, illustrate the great rate of coastal change in this area since the last ice age. Where Henry VIII once built his coastal fortification of Camber Castle, sheep now peacefully graze on pasture adjoining the 19th century Royal Military Canal. Winchelsea, with a population of just 600, is one of the best preserved medieval towns in England and its wealth of cellars, connected with the former wine trade with France, can be explored on organised tours.

A local “must-visit” site for birding enthusiasts is Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. This 465ha reserve is one of the most important nature conservation sites on the Sussex coast; with intertidal, saltmarsh, shingle, sand, open water and scrub habitats that attract a wide variety of nesting and migrant birds.

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