Rye Bay covers an area of 91 square kilometres in eastern East Sussex. It follows the valleys of the Rother, Tillingham and Brede rivers from the Cinque Port towns of Rye and Winchelsea. To the the west of the bay is the historic coastal town of Hastings and Fairlight cliffs, to the east is Romney Marsh and Dungeness. The beach along this stretch of the coast is mainly shingle (apart from Camber sands) and characterised by the rows of timber groynes that hold back the pebbles. Pounded by the waves and the action of the shingle these splintered, faded and rust stained groynes almost develop into individual sculptures. These images are an exploration of the range of textures and accidental creations that occur along the coastal stretch between Rye and Hastings, and Rye bay.
The rocks at Rock-a-nore in Hastings date from the Early Cretaceous period, between 132-147 million years ago. During this time, Hastings would have formed part of an extensive river delta system, comprising of many rivers and streams. As such, the sediments found today represent the layers deposited in the rivers and lakes at this time. Hastings is one of the only places outside the Isle of Wight, where Dinosaur bones can be found
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Strangely canine pattern of erosion on rocks at the foot of the cliff at Rock-a-Nore in Hastings, East Sussex. The painting was started in washes of acrylic paint which were the finished with thin glazes of oil paint.
Rusting chains hang down the side of a fishing boat on Hastings beach. RX is the registration code for the Rye and Hastings fishing fleet.
RX Registered Fishing Boats
Rye and Hastings still retain their small fishing fleet, daily catching the plaice and Dover sole that thrive in the shallow waters of Rye Bay and which can be bought fresh at the fish markets in Rye and behind the Stade in Hastings. The Fishing boat registration code RX is common to all the fishing boats in Rye Bay and can be found on the old boats drying or abandoned on the beach at Dungeness, Rye Harbour and Hastings. Hastings has the only beach launched fishing fleet in Europe.
The multi coloured tangle of old fishing nets and ropes on the fishing beach on Hastings foreshore below the funicular railway and in front of the net huts
PATCH OF BLUE
The close up and ambiguous detail of the side of an old wooden fishing boat on the beach near Dungeness (opposite Derek Jarman’s garden). The sun and wind in this bleak landscape have slowly stripped away the layers of paint that chart this boat’s working life leaving a patch of blue that floats on a sea of orange like the map of some alien continent.
LICK OF PAINT
A lifetime’s layers of paint bubbles and flakes from the side of a wooden fishing boat on the beach behind the fishermen’s huts on the Stade in Hastings, East Sussex.
RX 403 Registration code numbers on the side of fishing boat pulled up on to the beach in Hastings, East Sussex.
Cracked paintwork and rust on th side of a wooden fishing boat on Hastings fishing beach.
FLAKES OF TIME
Peeling paintwork flakes like scraped white chocolate from the side of a wooden fishing boat on the beach behind the fishermen’s huts on the Stade in Hastings, East Sussex
Coastal textures: Groynes of Rye Bay
In Britain, the southern half of the coastline is slowly sinking (on the east coast, at the rate of half a centimetre a year). This and the constant action of the wind and sea results in a rapidly eroding and moving coastline. The rocks that crumble from the cliffs at Fairlight are slowly ground down to shingle and sand which is moved along the coast through a process known as longshore drift to end up at Dungeness. To try an prevent the coastline shifting dramatically and protect the low lying Romney marsh and Pevensey from flooding, groynes, or breakwaters are placed along the coast. Lasting somewhere in the region of 50 years these are embedded in the shingle for most of their length and replaced on a cyclical basis as they succumb to the relentless action of the sea and shifting pebbles
Please see Coastal texture etchings for original black and white etchings of these groynes
STICKS AND STONES
Low tide at Winchelsea beach near Rye, the weather-beaten groynes stand in silhouette against the headland at Fairlight, East Sussex.
SLIP OF THE LINE
A line of ancient groynes and marches down to the sea across the shingle at Winchelsea beach near Rye. With a life span of 50 years these massive beams are buried 3/4 of their length in the constantly moving shingle, which otherwise would be slowly carried up the coast exposing the reclaimed area of Romney Marsh to the sea.
A lone, splintered, and wave battered groyne stands in defiance of the sea on the beach near Rye Harbour. Now nearing the end of its 50 year life this beam was buried 3/4 of its length in the constantly moving shingle, which has ground the wood into fantasy castle shapes. The iron bolts that join it to the cross planks are exposed, bent out of shape and have bled streaks of golden orange rust down the sun bleached timber
A wall of groynes awaits the sea. Textures of rust and bleached splintered wood attest to their coastal life.
See Rye Bay Groynes 2 for the etching version of this image
Four groynes stand festooned with washed up fishing nets and rope on the beach near Rye Harbour.
Groynes at low tide on Winchelsea beach near Rye with Dungeness in the background.
See Rye Bay Groynes 1 for the etching version of this image
The tide comes in on Winchelsea beach.
FAMILY SEASIDE OUTING
Two tall groynes stand proudly as their youngsters explore the shore line!