Camber Castle lies between Rye and Winchelsea (2 km from each) and is a favourite walking destination for Ryers and visitors alike.
Incorporating an early 14th century circular tower built by Sir Edward Guldeford it was built under the orders of Henry VIII after a treaty in 1538 between France and Spain made England more vulnerable to attack. Using locally sourced timber, stone and bricks it was completed in 1544 as a symmetrical artillery fort, second in size only to Deal Castle as one of Henry VIII’s fortifications, and soon had garrison strength of 29 men. A receding shoreline thanks to relentless silting and the eastward shifting of the harbour entrance meant it became obsolete after only a few years. The garrison was disbanded in 1637.
The castle, restored and now owned by English Heritage and managed by Rye Harbour Nature Reserve and East Sussex County Council, is a very interesting one to visit. There are towers and tunnels, an octagonal wall, D shaped bastions serving as gun platforms, carved stones and gun embrasures, not to mention 16th century fireplaces, bread ovens, the wardrobe (toilet), and interesting plants growing on the walls.
The castle is surrounded by Rye Harbour Nature Reserve so there is plenty to see before and after a castle visit. For more information on Camber Castle and the Nature Reserve go to Wild Rye where there are excellent photos (including a 360° interactive view of the inside), walk leaflets to download, and information on opening times and guided tours.