Camber Sands is a 7-mile-long sandy beach that stretches from the River Rother to the East Sussex/Kent border. Its coastal dune system, topped by marram grass, makes it a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is also very popular and on sunny weekends the car park can be full by 10am. Happily, Camber lies on the well-signed National Cycle Network, making it easily accessible by bike, and this flat, virtually traffic-free ride is suitable for all.
From Rye station follow the one-way system and bear left along Cinque Ports Street, following the blue signs for the National Cycle Network Route 2. Cross the mini-roundabout and turn right through the historic Landgate. After the gallery on the left, follow the steep path down to the road. Turn left and at the roundabout turn right towards Camber.
After the bridge over the River Rother, leave the road to the right and exchange traffic-noise for the sounds of grazing sheep. The Romney Marsh wind farm dominates the skyline to your left. Leave the field via the gate and cross a stream. On your right you now pass Rye Watersports, an inland lake that’s popular with windsurfers.
Cross the Camber road and turn right on to the dedicated cycle path that runs alongside. After a couple of small lakes, the path turns away from the road and alongside the golf course. Cross several wooden bridges over reed-filled streams and stop to listen to the noisy reed warblers. Shortly afterwards, the path rejoins the road with the golf club on your right and two lakes on your left.
You now pass the white welcome gates to Camber village. Stop at the main beach car park on your right for a well-earned break and spend the money you’ve saved on car parking on an ice-cream or two!
Now you have a choice – you can either laze away the remainder of the day at Camber Sands and return to Rye by the same route or, if you’re feeling more energetic, you can continue to Lydd. To continue your journey, exit the car park again and turn right along the road through Camber.
At Camber Sands Holiday Park, cross the road up on to the sea wall, alongside the beach. To the east you should be able to see Dungeness nuclear power station. Continue along the sea wall until you pass the Jury’s Gap river outfall on your left, then leave the sea wall and cross the road to the cycle path on the other side.
The red flags along the fencing on the other side of the road warn of an MOD Firing Range and you may hear gunfire. After about a mile, you pass a lake on your left, and as you enter Lydd, the route takes you left across the green and down the High Street. Turn right where signed towards the museum. Continue until you reach the Moon and Stars Café, where you can refuel before returning to Rye.
Mostly traffic-free tracks. Short stretches of road in Rye and through Camber.
HOW TO GET THERE
BY CAR: Rye is on the A259, 20 miles west of Ashford and 14 miles east of Hastings.
BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT: By train, Rye is on the line between Hastings and Ashford International.
New Lydd Road, Camber TN31 7RB
Tel. 01797 225057
The Moon and Stars
3 Park St, Lydd TN29 9AY
Tel. 01797 321052
1 Cyprus Place, Rye
Tel. 01797 223033
Open Mon-Fri 8am-5pm, Sat 8am-noon.
Rye Heritage Centre, Strand Quay, Rye TN31 7AY
Tel. 01797 226696