Green light for multi-million pound project at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

An artist's impression of the new Discovery Centre at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. SUS-171127-132445001
An artist's impression of the new Discovery Centre at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. SUS-171127-132445001

Sussex Wildlife Trust is launching a new multi-million pound project to engage future generations in wildlife conservation.

The project – Discover Rye Harbour – will see the establishment of a major new Discovery Centre at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve – the largest of its nature reserves in Sussex.

In addition to a broad range of new activities, walks, talks, education, training and research, the new scheme will be the largest project ever undertaken by the Sussex Wildlife Trust, and is set to engage more than 350,000 people in the wonders of nature.

The project is a joint venture between the Sussex Wildlife Trust and the 2000-strong Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, which has been campaigning for a new visitor centre to support the reserve for years.

After months of development, the largest element of the scheme – the new Discovery Centre itself – received unanimous planning permission from Rother District Council at a key meeting on November 16.

Covering more than 1,100 acres, the reserve is recognised as one of the most important sites for nature and wildlife in Britain.

Already possessing every national level of protection possible, in 2016, the wetlands, saltmarsh and lagoons it contains were also recognised by the global Ramsar Convention as a site of international importance for migrating birds and other threatened species.

Carole Nicholson, chairman of Sussex Wildlife Trust, said: “We want Sussex to be a place where people and wildlife can thrive together. This isn’t just about making sure they have access to nature, but really engage with it, learn about it, and help care for it for future generations.

“Our new Discover Rye Harbour project is all about that – it will not just be a fantastic, eco-friendly building, but it will involve a whole range of exciting projects to involve people in the natural world on their doorstep.”

The new Discovery Centre has been designed by internationally-renowned architects Simpson & Brown.