Walking route brings history to life

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The official launch of the Rye sculpture and the 1066 Country Walk: L-R Kevin Boorman, 1066 Country, Richard Standing, EAFRD Funding representative, Naomi Robinson and Mandy Curtis, 1066 Walk consultants, Andy Gomm, Sussex Sign Company, Sally Ann Hart MP, Malcolm Johnston, RDC CEO, Cllr Christine Bayliss, RDC, Donna Hall, 1066 Walk Project Lead, and sculptor Keith Pettit.

A special ceremony took place on Friday, September 17 marking the launch of a project to bring history to life along a 31-mile footpath.

Bespoke sculptures and new signage, seating, and information boards will guide visitors along the 1066 Country Walk, unearthing the history of William the Conqueror and his invading army.

The route, which begins at Pevensey, passes through Battle, and ends at Rye, has been transformed as a visitor attraction thanks to a European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development grant in excess of £160,000 to support rural tourism infrastructure.

Councillor Hazel Timpe, Rother District Council’s portfolio holder for communities, culture and tourism, said: “This is a fantastic rural project which will improve this historic walk as a visitor attraction and have a positive impact on local businesses. The amazing sculptures, a new illustrated walkers’ guide, benches and information panels will encourage more people to enjoy this beautiful countryside and learn more about the incredible history of our 1066 country.”

East Sussex artist Keith Pettit, famed for his wooden sculptures and engravings, has created a Bayeux Tapestry-themed trail, with ten sculptures at key points along the route.

“This has been a phenomenal opportunity”, he said. “It has been a part of my life, growing up in the area. I was always fascinated by stories of the conquest as a child. It seemed almost every beach or hill had the ghosts of that time still lingering on. It always felt so vivid.”

The walk takes in historical sites and ancient towns and villages, travels over hillsides and through woodland and passes oast houses and windmills. It includes the Normans’ landing place at Pevensey, the nearby castle, and the Battle of Hastings site at Battle.

Crossing Pevensey Levels to Herstmonceux Castle, it skirts Wartling Wood to Boreham Street before turning east, taking in Catsfield and Battle, before heading to Westfield, Icklesham, Winchelsea, and finally Rye.

Image Credits: Sara Lou Bowrey , Jim Holden .

2 COMMENTS

  1. Controversially, I suggest the walk starts at Rye and heads to Pevensey! Only problem is finding where the walk actually starts – ‘somewhere near Donny the Donkey’s paddock’ didn’t cut much mustard when I tried to explain the location to a pair of Dutch walkers lost in Rye at the weekend who were holding the printed route map, which suggests the only place to get food in Rye is The Crown and is so casually drawn the footpath appears to start somewhere to the north east of the train station.

  2. This looks marvellous. I love travelling to Rye and surrounding areas and walking the footpaths with friends. Such deep and fascinating history. I will definitely be getting my walking boots on and doing this walk, maybe the Winchelsea to Rye section but will explore the Battle paths too as I have not done the walks around there. Can’t wait to see the sculptures. Thank you

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