A beach-side and back-lane cycle ride from Camber to Rye Harbour, Pett and Winchelsea
This is a great route if you fancy a three-hour ride that takes in miles of off-road cycle paths, loads of sea-front riding, quiet lanes, peaceful villages and great pubs.
Here’s a run-down on the route. I’ve started in Camber, but of course you can kick off anywhere you like on the route, and leave out Camber altogether if it doesn’t suit your plans.
There are some great pubs along the way, and I’ve linked to those in the villages on the route.
Camber to Rye
Take the off-road cycle path from the western edge of the village into Rye. When you hit the A259, beside the bridge that takes the road over the River Rother, turn left.
Follow the road as it loops left around Rye and heads off towards Winchelsea and Hastings.
Rye to Rye Harbour
Turn left down the road signposted to Rye Harbour that you’ll find on the western outskirts of Rye. An off-road cycle path takes you into the village.
Pub: The William the Conqueror in the village is a cosy local, with seating beside the river.
Rye Harbour Nature Reserve to Pett Level
The road through the village ends at the entrance to the nature reserve, where a track takes you alongside the River Rother until you reach the beach, when it turns right and takes you through the nature reserve.
This track joins the seafront Pett Level Road that takes you to Pett Level. If it’s blowy, the road gives good shelter from winds coming off the sea, but you can also cycle along the top of the sea wall, or on the beach if you have a mountain bike.
Pub: The Smuggler at Pett Level is a good place to stop if you need a rest before the 25% climb inland you are about to face.
Pett Level to Pett
About 100m after the lane turns inland take the right turn signposted for Pett Village. This is Chick Hill, which becomes Pett Road.
There is an early stretch up a one-in-four incline, but after that it’s a generally gentle undulating route to the town.
You pass through the village of Pett after a couple of miles.
Pub: The Royal Oak, Pett.
Pett to Winchelsea
Look out for a turning on the right in the centre of Pett. There is no direction board, so you’ll need to take care to spot the street sign for Pannel Lane.
This lane takes you right to Winchelsea, but changes it’s name a couple of times along the way. It becomes Pett lane and later Wickham Rock Lane, but it’s a pretty straightforward route to Winchelsea.
As you near the town you’ll pass through a stone gateway that marks the boundary of what was a very important trading post in the 13th century, before Winchelsea’s harbour silted up.
Pub: The New Inn has a very nice secluded garden (entrance pictured above), if the weather’s good enough.
The church is worth exploring, and if you are a Spike Milligan fan, you’ll find the comedian’s grave in the churchyard.
Winchelsea to Rye Harbour
Head down the High Street through Winchelsea and pass beneath another arch and down to the A259. Turn right.
Stay on the A259 for the most direct route home, or turn right after a couple of hundred metres onto Sea Road for a country route.
Pub: The Ship is a cool bar, restaurant and high-class butcher’s shop.
After about two miles, and shortly after passing The Ship, turn left into Smeaton Lane. A network of unmade lanes beginning here will take you right back to Rye Harbour.
You have a couple of options. Either turn left onto The Ridge, a track which goes all the way to Rye Harbour, skirting the nature reserve on the landward side.
Or, if you prefer, ignore this turn and go straight on until you reach the seafront, where you can turn left and pick up the track through the nature reserve we used on our way out.
However you get there, once in Rye Harbour you just retrace your steps to Rye and Camber.
Accommodation, and more outings
This is just one of the many cycle and walking routes that begin at the door to Dunescape, our Camber Sands beach house.
If you’d like to consider Dunescape for a seaside break, take a look here.