The land of the Romney Marsh used to
be marshland, but over time it has been changed to its current form.
We would like to take you down the annals of time to about 10000
BC to see the changes brought about by a mixture of Man and Nature.
at the present day has been mostly converted to very fertile farmland;
quite a large area lies below sea level, but is protected by sea
defences and walls throughout the area. The Marshes are famous for
their sheep and smuggling which
for many years provided income to the locals .The area is well used
by windsurfers, sailors and other water sports enthusiasts. The
majority of the beaches are sandy and safe for families.
The whole area, as with the rest of Sussex has been affected by
severe oscillations of land level over the last 10,000 years. Below
you will see the development of the Romney Marsh over the past 8,000
The area is bordered by a range of hills (shown in green), through
which three rivers pass, they all flow into the area from the left
of the map (west) and consist of the Rother, the Tillingham
and the Brede.
The land was about 40 ft lower than at present, and the whole
area was under water. This made the area look like a great
bay. The headland at Fairlight
was about 2 miles further out at sea at this point.
The land has risen about 40 ft and is now above sea level, the land
dried out, and the salt leached away, the whole area is covered
by forests, the remains of which are visible today as a Submerged
forest at Pett Level.
he land rose about 370AD, but it is on its way down again. The Romans build
a wall around the northern part of the area, probably to create
saltpans, with which to provide troops in both England and Europe.
The river Rother flows north of the Isle of Oxney and out through
the salt marshes to the sea at Romney.
The land is slowly being reclaimed by the local inhabitants and
the Rother is helping to keep the port of Romney clear, with
its flow throughout the area, this is the high point for the inhabitants
of Romney, with the Cinque Ports
, and their entourage. The town of (P) Broomehill and Winchelsea,
which lie on the south edge of the marsh being important port towns.
A severe storm has hit the channel, and the movement of shingle
has blocked the outlet of the Rother at Romney, changing its path
forever down to Rye and
out into the sea. The Storm sweeps away the towns of (P) Broom hill
entirely and destroys many ships. The Cinque ports are devastated.
is founded; Winchelsea
is built in its current position.
Another 100 years further on in time we can see that the Rother
is still flowing to the north of the Isle of Oxney, and the area
around Walland Marsh is now open to the sea, but much of the land
has been reclaimed especially around Old Romney, Rye
and Winchelsea are both important ports, as they have a protected
(This map has been taken from a map of the time)
The river Rother has now changed its route to the sea, and now flows
to the south of the Isle of Oxney. More land has been reclaimed
and the area is becoming less and less marshy. The area around
Rye and Winchelsea now provides safe haven for the sailing ships at the
time, this shows Rye at
the height of its fame. The dotted line shows the present coastline.
It also shows that the Tillingham and the Brede
were still navigable at this point, but the Rother is only navigable
to the Isle of Oxney.
Within the line of the hills lies the Royal Military Canal, which
was built in the early 1800's to protect against invasion from
Napoleon. Quite a large area lies below sea level, but is protected
by sea defences and walls throughout the area. The area now consists
of rich and fertile farmland./td>