‘Hidden gem’ historic route gets major facelift

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

The 1066 Country Walk, which runs from Pevensey to Rye via Battle, is being transformed as a visitor attraction thanks to more than £160,000 of EU funding.

The successful bid by Rother District Council will deliver a major makeover, including better signage, new seating, interpretation and information boards, guide maps and bespoke sculptures.

The 30-mile route guides walkers through a historic landscape pivotal in British history, having once played host to William the Conqueror and his invading Norman army.

The funding of almost £165,000 is from the EU’s European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, administered by the Government’s Rural Payments Agency.

Cllr Deidre Earl-Williams, Rother District Council cabinet member for culture and tourism, said: “This is a hugely exciting project and I am delighted we have secured vital funding for this hidden gem.

“We want to make this route a quality visitor attraction, attract more walkers and boost local businesses on the route, including those providing something to eat and somewhere to stay.”

The walk, which was established in the 1990s, needed significant investment to improve and promote it, with the aim of unlocking its tourism and economic potential.

Improvements will include large wooden sculptures celebrating the area’s history and heritage, created by East Sussex artist Keith Pettit, well-known for his wooden sculptures and engravings.

Cllr Earl-Williams added: “I am 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.”

The walk visits historical sites and ancient towns and villages, travels over hillsides and through woodland and passes oasthouses and windmills. It includes the Normans’ landing point at Pevensey, the nearby castle and the Battle of Hastings site.  

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

Led by Rother District Council, the improvement project is supported by East Sussex County Council, English Heritage, 1066 Country Marketing, South Downs National Park Authority, Ashburnham Place and other local businesses. 

Although a timetable is yet to be fixed, planning has already started and the intention is to have the project completed by the autumn.

More information and updates are available at: https://www.visit1066country.com/blog/read/2020/03/historic-route-gets-major-facelift-to-boost-tourism-and-business-b35

Published: 12th March 2020