We all know the benefits of eating more vegetables and doing regular exercise. But were you aware that a two-hour ‘dose’ of nature each week provides a significant boost to your health and wellbeing? Even if this translates as sitting on a bench and listening to birdsong or watching some amazing cloudscapes overhead.

According to a University of Exeter study by Dr Mathew White, the benefits of nature are the same for all ages, whatever your income bracket, for those living in urban areas as well as rurally. It also applies to those with long-term illnesses and disabilities. The message is – getting out in nature is good for everybody.

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve is a great place to take in nature. Managed by Sussex Wildlife Trust, the reserve covers 1,110 acres, which include habitats, such as wetlands, shingle and saltmarsh, supporting over 300 rare or endangered plants and animals.

It also has a number of interesting historic buildings – wartime pillboxes, Henry VIII’s Camber Castle and the Mary Stanford Lifeboat House.

If you want to go for a short walk to the sea, or on a longer circular walk, its paths and five birdwatching hides are all accessible.

Plus, in spring 2020, the Rye Harbour Discovery Centre is due to open, offering shelter all year round, as well as a café, toilets, classroom and exhibition space. It will have a beautiful viewing area with amazing views across the coastal landscape, which will enable visitors to watch the wildlife from inside in more challenging weather.

The Discovery Centre is a joint venture between the Sussex Wildlife Trust and the Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. It will act as a hub for a range of activities that form part of a wider Discover Rye Harbour programme of events, supported by over half a million pounds from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, to transform the way visitors engage with the natural and cultural heritage of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve.

Sussex Wildlife Trust puts on a programme of events throughout the year, including free Wednesday Healthy Walks at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. These take place every week, whatever the weather. Find out about those coming up in early 2020 in the listings below.
 
Thank you to Dr Barry Yates, Rye Harbour Nature Reserve Manager, for this guest post.
 

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Winter Owls at Rye Harbour
Guided Walk
Winter Owls at Rye Harbour

This is a great time of year to observe owls on the hunt. We'll look to try and observe this magnificent avian predator, whilst learning more about their captivating lives.

New Year's Day Walk with a Warden
Health & Wellbeing
New Year's Day Walk with a Warden

Burn off some festive calories on our shortest circular route, taking in three bird watching hides, saltmarsh and the beach.

A Winter Ramble around Pett Level
Guided Walk
A Winter Ramble around Pett Level

With reedbeds, grassland and wetlands to explore, Pett Pools and Pett Level are a perfect location for birdwatching.

Big Beach Clean
Participatory Event
Big Beach Clean

Monthly litter picks for the whole family, helping to remove plastics and other litter from the marine environment.

World Wetlands Day Walk 1
Guided Walk
World Wetlands Day Walk 1

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve is a Ramsar International wetland site and 2nd Feb is World Wetlands Day.

World Wetlands Day Walk 2
Guided Walk
World Wetlands Day Walk 2

An evening short walk around our saltmarsh looking at wetland birds as they feed and roost on the nature reserve. Visiting a couple of our birdwatching hides.

Beginning Birdwatching in Winter
Photography
Beginning Birdwatching in Winter

Flummoxed by Finches? Baffled by Buntings? Stumped by Sandpipers? If you need assistance with your Avocets or help with your Herons, this is the event for you.

Strandline Stroll
Guided Walk
Strandline Stroll

Wrap up warm for a stroll along the beach when winter's stormy seas may have brought in many interesting things to find. We will also clean up any litter as we go.

Festive Beach Clean
Participatory Event
Festive Beach Clean

A clean-up of rubbish washed up along the beach by autumn storms, plus the chance to see many wintering birds. Your efforts will be rewarded with hot soup afterwards.

Camber Castle Wildlife Walk - Rye Harbour
Guided Walk
Camber Castle Wildlife Walk - Rye Harbour

Join us for a circular walk of approximately 6km, starting out from Rye Heritage Centre.

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve
Nature Reserve
Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

Large coastal nature reserve with a vast array of wildlife. Network of footpaths leading to 5 birdwatching hides (3 wheelchair accessible). Information centre.