PETT LEVEL

For a tiny village, Pett Level has a fascinating mixture of architectural styles, all situated within a space of one hundred yards. The pleasant houses on the north bank of the canal look across the water and the adjoining road to ‘The Smugglers’ pub. To the left of the pub across the wide entrance to the sea wall is a row of six early Victorian Coastguards’ cottages, and close to them a substantial white house in the shape of a cube. Its construction was featured in the television programme “Grand Designs” by the architect Kevin McCloud. Influenced by the style of Japanese houses, ‘The Big White House’ has flexible accommodation coupled with the latest technology and unbroken sea views. The garden is surrounded by a wall of huge oak ‘sleepers’ and houses an eclectic mix of modern sculptures among some unusual plants. The same can be said of the garden of neighbouring ‘Sea House’, another cube which is timber clad and painted black. It features a number of reconfigured windows each expressing its own identity, like pictures in a gallery. Between these two cubes is ‘Link Cottage’, a new ‘modernist’ style house extensively clad in unbleached wood. It is horizontally layered with balconies and huge floor to ceiling windows. The inspiration for these contemporary homes almost certainly came from ‘The Beach House’ a stunning cube from an earlier era. Built on concrete stilts it comprises three floors and has an external steel stairway that links the ground floor to the upper balconies. The house combines Sussex vernacular materials with the clean lines of the Bauhaus School of the thirties. Close to the sea and surrounded by pine trees, its privacy adds to its air of romance.

The properties on this stretch are given protection from the ravages of the sea by the huge shingle bank that butts up against the Fairlight cliffs.

Turning right from the pub along the sea wall, there is a tiny chapel and The Pett Level Life Boat House with its makeshift slipway running through the shingle and down to the sea. Then comes a small cluster of well maintained and sought- after holiday caravans with verandas and pretty gardens, nestled in safety behind the sea wall. The nearest shop is the CO-OP at Winchelsea Beach 1mile towards Rye.

Situated 6 miles for Rye.