During dry years, the sluice may be kept closed for most of the summer, as the water is used to maintain the marsh environment. If heavy rainfall coincides with a high tide, where outflow is tide-locked, the river above the sluice to Bodiam acts as a huge holding reservoir for flood water, and is managed as such.It covers an area of 154 acres (62 ha) and was built between 19.Management of the levels adjacent to the river is undertaken by the Romney Marshes Area Internal Drainage Board.The Rother passes by or near the villages of Etchingham, Robertsbridge, Bodiam, Northiam, and Wittersham.
The river is known to have been used for shipping in Roman times, when it was navigable to Bodiam and possibly further upstream.
Its source is near Rotherfield in East Sussex, and its mouth is on Rye Bay, part of the English Channel.
Prior to 1287, its mouth was further to the east at New Romney, but it changed its course after a great storm blocked its exit to the sea.
During the summer, water is transferred in the other direction, to manage the habitat of the marshland.
The river below it is tidal, and it is closed as the tide rises, to prevent salt water passing up the river.