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 .