Hastings Walk – 23.04.2011

1066 and all that… well that is what is usually associated with Hastings. However, on this lovely summer walk, we were to discover that there was a lot more to Hastings that just the Battle of Hastings!

Coming out of the station, we were immediately confronted by a fishing boat, which is a bit odd for the middle of a town, but it does allude to some of the town’s connection to it’s fishing industry – which we were to find out about much later.  Walking through the town we headed straight for the sea front, only to make our first discovery!

It seems that Hastings has been a popular Seaside resort for quite sometime and Michael Faraday who was a known to contribute to the discovery of Electromagnetism had spent a summer here in 1831 (he also was attributed to inventing a early form of the Bunsen burner – who remembers them at school? LOL (note Robert Bunsen was credited with the entire invention).

Reaching the seafront, it was gloriously warm and although still April lots of people were enjoying the early summer sun and the sea.      As we strolled along, we did notice a sorry sight, the Hastings Pier – it did not seem to be in full working order to us and did seem a little damaged… I will come back to that later.       The seafront  is overshadowed by the cliffs which seems a little daunting.   I could just make out the remains of Hastings Castle at the top of the cliff (although we did not visit on this occasion – as we ran out of time!)  It seems that the Georgians (well they looked like Georgian buildings to me) had made good use of the bottom  of the cliff by building a beautiful sweep of buildings at the bottom of the cliff with a fantastic sea view!

From 2011 – 23.04.2011 – Hastings Walk

Continuing on, we found that as with most seasides (and parks!) we had walked, Hastings was being renovated.  It seems that most of Britian’s seasides resorts are  being rebuilt / refreshed whenever we decide to walk them!  This meant that the small theme park that Hastings had was extremely squashed!   We found ourselves walking down Rock-a-nore road (yes it does sound just like Jackanory!) where we passed by the East Cliff lift – which cut through the steep and menacing rock – more later.

We navigated the construction work to find ourselves confronted by a strange set of buildings.     Elongated wooden buildings, with doors in odd places.     Again there was a fisherman’s boat nearby which should have given a clue as to what the buildings were for…

From 2011 – 23.04.2011 – Hastings Walk

But it was not until we turned the corner and found someone actually selling fish from one of the booths that we could really guess that these were purpose built buildings…. for the Fishermen. From storing nets to selling fish.  This was locally known as the Stade Trail. The word Stade originates from the battle of Hastings (1066) meaning “landing place” and a fishing harbour has been in place here since 1500’s – particularly as Fishing has been the staple industry of Hastings (I think we should has guessed this when we saw the fishing vessel was outside the train station!)

Within the trail was a small church, which has been converted into a tiny museum – The Fishermen’s Museum. The Church was built in 1854 originally built to serve the Fishermen, and although it was very popular, the building became a military store in World War II – the building was damaged never again used as a Church. It was not until 1956 it became known as the “The Fishermen’s Museum”. We did venture inside, and if you are ever this way I would encourage you to visit, it contains some fascinating fishing history and a full size boat!

We walked to the end of Rock-a-nore road which is a dead end – although it has a beach – it does seem to have more locals who seem to be on this beach rather on the main one. Also it was very popular with the fishermen! It did have more spectacular views of the cliffs from this end of our walk. It was very tempting just to stop and sit on the beach and stare out at sea…

From 2011 – 23.04.2011 – Hastings Walk

We decided to walk on… to look for way to walk up steep cliff without having to use the Lift (we needed practice for our main walk in June as there are no cliff lifts where we are headed!)   Our route took us down “All Saints Street” which is just littered with history.   The first house we came across, both the notable playwright David Garrick and Edward Capell who was a Shakespearean Critic, (and who was noted for he adapting Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra with David Garrick for stage in 1758), had both been frequent visitors there!   The street was a collection of beautiful old Tudor cottages – reminiscent of “The Shambles” in York – although it was not as narrow!

It was not long before we came across a house belonging to a famous English Naval Officer Admiral Cloudesley Shovell. Having a history of fighting Pirates in the Mediterranean (not the Caribbean!!), his career lead him to serve in the 9 years war against French and as a result was knighted by King William III.   Sadly Shovell lost his life in the Naval disaster in 1707 near the Scillies Isles. (where I have walked)    Leaving Admiral Shovell’s residence behind we suddenly realised that we reached the end of the street when we saw All Saints Church and that we had missed the turning for the cliff, we had to double-back on ourselves to find the steps via the “Tackleway”.

I have to admit the steps are quite well looked after and are much nicer than those steps I had experienced on the South West Coast Path earlier that month! The climb was definitely worth it just for the views alone. On reaching the top, we discovered that the whole cliff was a nature reserve, which was really nice as it would mean the whole area would be well looked maintained. I then had a nice surprise! I came across my 6th Millennium Beacon! Purfleet Walk, Wemyss Bay Walk, Hainualt Country Park Walk, Doniford Bay Walk and Canvey Island had provided them before 🙂  Although I did note that this beacon was used before the Millennium in 1995!  We decided to relax and enjoy the sun this time.  The cliff had beautiful views and it just seemed a shame to rush off and not enjoy them for a while.

From 2011 – 23.04.2011 – Hastings Walk

Eventually we did have to come down to continue our walk. We the took a route just off the seafront – only to find an unusual high street. Why would it be unusual? It was full of curio shops, antiquities and art galleries had the entrance to the “West Cliff Lift”. George Street is known as Hastings “Old Town”. It was lovely to see independent retailers for a change 🙂

We walked on from the old town and continued back to the sea front. Passing by what seemed like old changing rooms? There were stairs in the pavements that seemed to go to no where – it led us to the conclusion that perhaps there was at one time old changing rooms with an entrance leading out to the seafront… But who knows!?! We finally reached Hastings Pier. Which to me was a sorry sight. With “Save our Pier” everywhere – I would agree with the residents it would have been a grand sight at one time. With the good news that the Heritage Fund has been able to contribute to saving the pier!

As we walked on we came across a “weather station” – not particularly unusual you may think but it has been in operation since 1875! I am not sure about the history of this station or if it used by the Met Office but apparently it is by White Rock Gardens (not this one!) Perhaps it is more accurate?!!

We continued onto Burton St Leonards a much quieter area.  Walking through a small Gardens – originally known as “Old Womans Tapshaw” – this quiet Residential park, was our place to finish our walk. We felt it was time to head home

Please click here for our Walking Route

These are all the photos for the days walk

2011 – 23.04.2011 – Hastings Walk



5 responses to “Hastings Walk – 23.04.2011

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