Pett Level

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Pett Level
Thatched Cottage, Cliff End - - 1503302.jpg
Cottage at Cliff End
Grid reference: TQ886136
Location: 50°53’28"N, 0°40’53"E
Local Government
Council: Rother
Hastings and Rye

Pett Level is a small, peaceful seaside village in Sussex running down to the English Channel coast between Rye and Hastings, just below the village from which it sprang; Pett. The midst of the village is on the steep slope down to the sea, and the hamlet by the beach is Cliff End.

At Cliff End there is a beach and, as the name suggests, the Wealden sandstone cliffs reach their easternmost point.

The village is not at all level, but takes its name from the drained marshland to the east known as the Pett Level.

The village marks the end of the Royal Military Canal and also the western end of the 1940s sea defence wall, along which one can walk, giving wonderful views of the sea, beach and cliffs. Cliff End can be reached by foot.

The beach at Pett Level

At low tide it is possible to see the stumps of ancient trees that are part of a fossilised forest dating back to the last Ice Age.

The Royal Military Canal which ends here runs for 28 miles to Hythe. This was built as a defence against the possible invasion by Napoleon, presumably on the assumption that an army which had crossed all the great rivers of Europe would be stumped by a ditch a few feet wide.

The Level

The Pett Level, the original place of that name, is to the east of the village. It is an area of drained marshland between the sea and the rising ground, the edge of which is marked by the Royal Military Canal. The coastline here is embanked, and the Pett Level extends behind the bank. This was once part of the sea but as the sea withdrew new marshes appeared, stretching all along the coast of Rye Bay. The port of Winchelsea was left inland in this process: today the village Winchelsea Beach sits on the Pett Level

Within the level, Pett Pools are large shallow lakes and reedbeds which attract an enormous variety of both breeding and overwintering wildfowl and waterbirds.

Pett Level Road


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