The marsh you can see directly behind Marsh View Cottage is Walland Marsh. Part of the bigger Romney Marsh, Walland Marsh has been designated SSSI status [Site of Special Scientific Interest] as it is an important habitat for a variety of wildlife and rare and protected plants and wildlife.
Some of these include the protected great crested newt as well as common newts [often found basking on the path leading to our front door!], marsh frogs, stoats, badgers,rabbits, hares, Sussex emerald moth, a variety of birds, Emperor dragonfly, marsh mallow moth, to name just a few.
Romney Marsh, Rye and Camber were the birthplace of smuggling in southern England. This land, reclaimed from the sea following a great storm in the 13th century, made good grazing land for sheep. The export of their wool was highly taxed and poorly policed. Wool smuggling fluctuated according to the laws of the land and market forces at the time. During the 15th century, wool prices in this country fell, and there was temptation to smuggle overseas for more profit. By the 17th century, this had reached a huge scale, and Romney Marsh and the local area, including Rye and Camber Sands [the dunes made a good hiding place] were at the very heart of the wool smuggling trade. Soon, the goods being smuggled in and out of the country, to nearby mainland Europe, expanded to include tobacco, brandy, tea, lace, silk, and more.
The churches are interesting to visit. We haven’t visited them all ourselves yet. If you only have time to visit one, we would recommend Thomas a Becket in Fairfield. This ancient little church is surrounded by sheep and the water courses that cover the marsh which serve to help protect against flooding. The village of Fairfield, which it served, has long since disappeared, making the church isolated. On the notice board is a note explaining where you can get the key from to have a look inside.