A guide to Rye

PUBLISHED: 01:16 27 August 2011 | UPDATED: 19:54 20 February 2013

A guide to Rye

A guide to Rye

Rye may brim with delightful tourist attractions, but unless you're 'in the know' some are easily missed. Now two of the town's residents have produced a series of charmingly illustrated pocket guides. Words: Angela Wintle

Have you ever walked round a tourist hotspot packed with attractions and had the uncomfortable feeling that youre like a hamster on a wheel, following in the footsteps of countless other pilgrims before you?

You may have ticked all the boxes in the guidebook the ancient parish church or the Georgian National Trust property but what, you ask, has made your trip unique?

Often, its the unexpected find that makes a visit truly memorable: the chance discovery, say, of the ruins of an Augustinian priory or the blue plaque outside an Edwardian villa proclaiming that a famous writer or artist once lived there. And you long for a local someone in the know to take you by the hand and show you the hidden gems tucked down a side street or alleyway.

Well, in Rye at least, you need never miss out on those hidden delights again because two of the towns residents and neighbours, web designer Dee Alsey and artist Martin Bradshaw, have produced a fine collection of themed pocket guides ingeniously entitled A Pocketful of Rye.

The four fold-up guides, presented in a plastic case designed to fit neatly into your pocket, contain small chunks of text detailing Ryes cultural riches, as well as maps and images of its historic attractions charmingly illustrated in acrylic by Martin.

They take four main themes as their subject: Creative and Literary Rye, documenting its many famous writers and artists from Mabel Lucy Attwell to John Piper; Saints and Sinners, contrasting its ecclesiastical past with its rich smuggling and criminal history; Ghosts, Ghouls and Rascals, which offers to take intrepid explorers on a spooktacular trail round its haunted highways and byways, and Pubs and Grub, detailing the towns many ancient and timbered watering holes and culinary attractions.

We both love living in Rye, but we were surprised by how much we missed when we first came as visitors, says Dee. Martins work had made me look more closely at the buildings and we came up with the idea of combining artwork with bite-sized amounts of interesting local information. We hope the guides will enhance visitors experience of the town and make them want to discover more. They also make perfect gifts.

Martin, who studied fine art at Camden School of Art and Chelsea College of Art and Design, thinks they have produced a format not seen elsewhere. People love the layout and colours, and Ive already seen several visitors walking round with our trail, he says. Theres no fixed route, though most are centred in the main part of the town.

Later this year, they will launch the second in the series entitled Kids About Town, an activity pack featuring games and suggested childrens activities designed to familiarise youngsters with Ryes rich history.

You could do endless things based around Rye and it would be nice to think that we could do the same for other Sussex towns, says Martin.

The guides are available to buy online at 4.99 a pack and may also be bought at selected outlets around the town, including the Heritage Centre, Rye Tourist Office, Adams Stationers, the Martello Bookshop and Rye Museum. For more information, visit www.apocketfulofrye.co.uk

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