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.
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
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.
Groynes on the coast 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