Facelift for 1066 Walk progresses

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One of the proposed Walk sculptures

Progress is (slowly) being made on the upgrading of the 1066 walk. Last week a meeting was held between representatives of Rother District Council together with Andy Stuart (also a Rye town councillor) and Alan Dickinson, both from Rye Conservation Society and former Winchelsea mayor, John Spencer (representing Winchelsea) to discuss details of new signage, information for walkers and the installation of a number of sculptures. They have given Rye News the following account of actions so far:

A long distance pathway in East Sussex is to get a new lease of life in a bid to boost tourism and rural business.

The 30-mile 1066 Country walk which begins at Pevensey and ends at Rye, having visited Battle along the way, is being transformed as a visitor attraction thanks to a grant of more than £160,000 from the Rural Payments Agency.

The successful bid for funding by Rother District Council, supported by various partners, will give the walk a major makeover which will include better signage, new interpretation and information boards, guide maps, and some bespoke sculptures crafted by local artist, Keith Pettit.

European funding for makeover

The route guides walkers through more than 30 miles of historic landscape which once played host to William the Conqueror and the invading Norman army and is, therefore, pivotal in the history of our country.

The funding of almost £165,000 is from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, through the Growth Programme Rural Tourism Infrastructure theme to revive and promote the 1066 Walk Pathway.

Rother District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Culture and Tourism, Cllr Deirdre Earl-Williams said: “This is a hugely exciting project and I am delighted we have secured this vital funding for this hidden gem. We want to make this route a quality visitor attraction. That will attract more walkers and will be good news for local businesses on the route including those providing something to eat and somewhere to stay.”

The walk was actually established in the 1990s and is often explored in sections or by walkers who walk the full length, normally over four days. But it needed significant investment to improve and promote it. Recognising the tourism and economic potential, the district council submitted the successful bid for EU rural development funding.

Sculptures celebrate the history

As well as bespoke seating, interpretation boards and signage, the walk will also include some large wooden sculptures which will be designed to celebrate the history and heritage of the area. That task falls to Sussex artist Keith Pettit, who is well-known for his wooden sculptures and engravings.

Led by Rother District Council, the project is being supported by the Rights of Way team at East Sussex County Council, English Heritage, 1066 Country Marketing, South Downs National Park, Ashburnham Place and other local businesses. Although a timetable is yet to be fixed for the project, planning has already started and the intention is to have the project completed by the autumn.

The walk includes visits to historical sites through ancient towns and villages, over hillsides and through woodland, and passing oast houses and windmills. It includes the Normans’ landing point at Pevensey and the battle site, and the castles at Pevensey and Herstmonceux. It crosses Pevensey Levels to Herstmonceux Castle and then skirts Wartling Wood to Boreham Street. It then turns eastwards and visits Catsfield and Battle before heading to Westfield, Icklesham and Winchelsea then finishing in Rye.

Cllr Earl-Williams said: “I am so looking forward to seeing this project as it develops and can’t wait to see some of the bespoke designs that will make it so special. It promises to be a fantastic addition to the wonderful tourist attractions we already have in this part of the world and I hope people will flock here to walk it. A warm welcome awaits.”

Source: 18 Hours Ltd, Events and Education

Image Credits: 18 Hours Ltd .

1 COMMENT

  1. upgrading the 1066 walk experience is about alot more than planting a few odd sculptures. The walk, along with many others that link to it, needs a solid programme to remove the many awkward stiles that act as obstacles to safe passage. One of the worst offenders is the National Trust who ‘maintain’ or maybe dont maintain a handful on the passage on the 1066 from Icklesham past Wickham Manor. Replace these with kissing gates would cost a fraction of the £160k on offer, and be of real benefit.

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