The Nature Reserve has won several awards that recognise the work of the partners, volunteers and staff since it was established in 1970.

Britain’s favourite nature reserve in 2016

The Rye Harbour Nature Reserve was voted Britain’s favourite nature reserve in 2016. The third annual LandLove Magazine Awards celebrate the very best things about the British countryside and the people who make it so wonderful. There were almost 40,000 votes over 12 categories, from Britain’s favourite cathedral, garden and nature reserve to seaside town, food producer and animal charity. Read a blog here.

CPRE Sussex Countryside Awards 2008-9

The Sussex branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England chose the nature reserve as the winner of the New Sussex Landscape category for the habitat enhancements at Castle Water in 2009. This work in 2003 and 2005 created a large area of reedbed adjacent to a large gravel pit that is now home to breeding Marsh Harriers, Bearded Tit and booming Bitterns.

SSSI Award

Although presented to the manager of the nature reserve this award represents the work by partners and volunteers.

Management of a Threatened Habitat

In 1986 the nature reserve entered a conservation competition run by the Royal Society for Nature Conservation / BBC / Woolwich Building Society. The entry was the category of "Management of a Threatened Habitat" and was based on the protection of wildlife on the shingle through the electric fencing, the voluntary Tern Watch and management of the islands on Ternery Pool. The prize of £1000 was spent on materials to extend the fencing. This was featured in an edition of Pebble Mill at One and presented by one of the judges, Chris Baines in May 1987.