Past Events

Talk 13 July 2024

Swifts by Sophie Streeter from the Hastings and Rother Swift Conservation Group.

The Friends were treated to an excellent and informative talk about Swifts yesterday. Sophie Streeter is a volunteer with the Hastings and Rother Swift conservation group – a group of volunteers dedicated to raising awareness of the plight of the Swift. Their aim is to protect and enhance the traditional nesting sites of these iconic summer visitors and to establish new nesting sites where appropriate in the Hastings and Rother area of East Sussex. They will also advise on the supply and installation of Swift nest bricks, soffit boxes and call systems. In December 2021, the Swift moved to the RED LIST of Highest Conservation Priority, as very sadly these beautiful birds are in trouble with a 58% drop in breeding numbers in just 25 years.
The talk to The Friends was beautifully illustrated with stunning images and videos of Swifts flying, catching food, roosting, nest box camera’s etc. I think we were all amazed at seeing young Swifts doing ‘press-ups’ to strengthen their wings before leaving the next box!
Sophie shared her in-depth knowledge of facts and information about Swifts and talked about the various ways in which we humans can help this species that is at risk of extinction in the UK. All in all a very interesting and inspirational talk.

For further information see

https://e-voice.org.uk/hastingsandrotherswifts

or

https://www.swift-conservation.org

Past Events

Talk 11 May 2024

The Conservation of Marianne North’s Paintings at Kew Gardens by Rachel Witt

Rachel Witt, an experienced and talented Paintings Conservator gave a talk to the Friends of RHNR on the local Victorian artist Marianne North and the conservation of some of her paintings that are held in the Marianne North Gallery at Kew Gardens.

Marianne was a brave and unconventional artist who was born in 1830 in Hastings and died in 1890. She had a privileged upbringing and following her father’s death, travelled extensively to paint, concentrating on botanical subjects.

Her unusual choice of painting materials led to many challenges in the restoration process and Rachel detailed some of these, along with how the gallery, funded by Marianne to display her enormous number of paintings was restored to the state it is today.

If anyone visits Kew Gardens and is interested in botanical paintings then a visit to this gallery is a must!

All in all, an enjoyable talk.

Talks

12 April – The Royal Military Canal and its…

Saturday 12th April 2025 1.30pm – 3pm at the Discovery Centre.

An in-depth and interactive look at this important part of our local history and landscape presented by Michael Steed.

Michael read history and land economy at Cambridge and has developed an interest in the Royal Military Canal, its history and importance.

These talks are for members of The Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve only. There is no charge, though donations are gratefully accepted. If you are not a member of The Friends but would like to attend, please JOIN US and let us know.

Limited places are available and booking for members of The Friends will open at 8.00am on 1st May.

Please note that dogs (except for guide dogs that have been pre-booked) are not allowed at talks.

Talks

08 February – The history of Rye Harbour Farm…

Saturday 8th February 2025 1.30pm – 3pm at the Discovery Centre.

Frank Langrish, a well known local farmer, talks about the interaction between agriculture, landscapes and SSSI’s in the local area.

Frank Langrish, a well known local farmer renowned for sheep rearing, will take us through the history of Rye Harbour Farm, Caste farm and Pett Level, over the last 150 years .

He will talk about how the agriculture created the original landscapes and the method of farming created the SSSI’s.

These talks are for members of The Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve only. There is no charge, though donations are gratefully accepted. If you are not a member of The Friends but would like to attend, please JOIN US and let us know.

Limited places are available and booking for members of The Friends will open at 8.00am on 1st January.

Please note that dogs (except for guide dogs that have been pre-booked) are not allowed at talks.

Talks

14 December – Fascinating and thought-provoking Rye Harbour History

Saturday December 14th 2024 1.30pm – 3pm at the Discovery Centre.

Find out about interesting aspects of local history from this series of four short talks by our own RHNR history group

The Rye Harbour History group has been researching various aspects of local history.

Four presenters will each give a short talk on a subject that has fascinated them. Come and listen to their enthusiasm and find out more about what went on in the past locally.

These talks are for members of The Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve only. There is no charge, though donations are gratefully accepted. If you are not a member of The Friends but would like to attend, please JOIN US and let us know.

Limited places are available and booking for members of The Friends will open at 8.00am on 1st November.

Please note that dogs (except for guide dogs that have been pre-booked) are not allowed at talks.

Past Events

Talk 13 Apr 2024

Pett Level – Then and Now by Keith Swallow

Members of the Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve were privy to a very informative and enjoyable talk by the author Keith Swallow today.

Keith initially developed a love of Romney Marsh and the surrounding area as a child, whilst visiting his Grandparents, and has gone on to live in the area. He has a passion for researching local history and has written several books.

The talk brought many aspects of Pett Level back to life. Keith took us back in time to the Pett Level of the Napoleonic wars with its eight Martello towers situated between Winchelsea Beach and Cliff End and the downfall of these structures; the importance to local life of the Ship Inn (then situated at the heart of Pett Level village, which was where the shingle is now, opposite Pett Pools); the contentious undertakings of the local landowners, and much, much more.

All in all, an excellent talk, enjoyed by a packed audience.

Talks

09 November – The Wonders of Bird Migration

Saturday 9th November 2024 1.30pm – 3pm at the Discovery Centre.

Presented by James Duncan.

Migration is an amazing feat of endurance and navigation. Join James Duncan from the SWT to find out more about this fascinating topic.

Birds are without doubt the planet’s ultimate travellers, with approximately half the UK species migrating each year. Some may not go far, yet others undertake truly epic feats of stamina and endurance, crossing oceans, mountains and continents. But how do they do it? Why do they do it? And how has this behaviour come about? Come along to find out.

Well known to many at RHNR, James is a brilliant speaker and has been a passionate birder (and all-round naturalist) since childhood. This will be an excellent and entertaining talk.

He describes ‘I’ve trained my eyes and ears to detect their presence, (birds) both visible and invisible. I’m often to be found scouring the UK countryside (and further afield) for migrant birds. Otherwise, I’m regularly found with a camera, whether it be focused on wildlife, landscape or astronomy. Before returning to my home county of Sussex, I worked for the RSPB managing landscapes, surveying Corncrake and Wader populations and leading guided walks on the Outer Hebrides’.

These talks are for members of The Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve only. There is no charge, though donations are gratefully accepted. If you are not a member of The Friends but would like to attend, please JOIN US and let us know.

Limited places are available and booking for members of The Friends will open at 8.00am on 1st October.

Please note that dogs (except for guide dogs that have been pre-booked) are not allowed at talks.

Talks

12 October – Cetaceans of Sussex

Saturday 12th October 2024 1.30pm – 3pm at the Discovery Centre.

Presented by Thea Taylor from the Sussex Dolphin Project.

Join Thea and James from the Sussex Dolphin Project for an evening of information on the whales, dolphins and porpoises found off the Sussex Coast.

The evening will consist of a talk and a Q&A session for you to ask questions about these charismatic but elusive animals.

In the talk, they will cover what their research programme has discovered, the questions still unanswered, how they look to protect our local cetaceans in the future, and the actions they are taking currently.

Thea Taylor is a marine biologist and Managing Director of the Sussex Dolphin Project. She has been involved with SDP since 2018 and has a particular interest in cetacean behaviour and human impacts.

James Milton is a student at the University of Sussex. He is the project support officer with the Sussex Dolphin Project and runs their terrestrial conservation and education section.

These talks are for members of The Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve only. There is no charge, though donations are gratefully accepted. If you are not a member of The Friends but would like to attend, please JOIN US and let us know.

Limited places are available and booking for members of The Friends will open at 8.00am on 1st September.

Please note that dogs (except for guide dogs that have been pre-booked) are not allowed at talks.

Talks

14 September – The Woman Who Saved Birds

Saturday 14th September 2024 1.30pm – 3pm at the Discovery Centre.

Presented by Tessa Boase a writer and social historian living in Hastings.

When social historian Tessa Boase told the RSPB she wanted to write their early story, they refused to let her visit their archives. To a former investigative journalist, this was a challenge she could not resist.

This talk brings to life the mighty Victorian and Edwardian plumage ­trade – and the brave eco-feminists who fought back on behalf of the birds. Their leader was Hythe-born Etta Lemon, the passionate and pioneering conservationist who built the early RSPB, but was not remembered by history. What were her campaign tactics, and what is her legacy? 

These talks are for members of The Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve only. There is no charge, though donations are gratefully accepted. If you are not a member of The Friends but would like to attend, please JOIN US and let us know.

Limited places are available and booking for members of The Friends will open at 8.00am on 1st August.

Please note that dogs (except for guide dogs that have been pre-booked) are not allowed at talks.

Past Events

Talk 11 Nov 2023

Paul Nash and Rye by Jim Northover

Paul Nash – The Rye Marshes, East Sussex (oil on canvas)

Jim Northover came to talk to us about the artist Paul Nash and his association with the Rye area. Paul Nash, who was also well known as a war artist, writer and photographer lived in Rye for a relatively short period 1930-32, however, Rye and the surrounding area heavily influenced his work.

Jim who has a background as a designer, has been fascinated by Paul Nash and has gone to great lengths to research this topic. He gave us an excellent talk which was very well received by the audience and this excerpt from an email afterwards sums up the talk very nicely.

“I’ve never understood Paul Nash’s work and his relevance to our local landscape but the speaker brought his paintings to life in a most remarkable way. This was a brilliant afternoon.”