What do do when out and about in Bexhill
As old as the Bexhill – the little seaside town with a whole lot of history
Archaeologists have been working on the construction site of the new link road since last year. Now prehistoric flints and evidence of early Iron Age industry have been found along the Hastings-to-Bexhill link road, which is currently under construction. Excitingly, a team from Oxford Archaeology has found evidence of human activity from almost every period since the Ice Age. The earliest includes flint scatters of possible Upper Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age.
The 3.5-mile road is due to be completed in 2015. Their ongoing excavations aim to link the A259 and B2092, crossing Combe Haven Valley.
At one site, on the edge of Watermill Stream, more than 20 separate so-called ‘scatters’ of worked flints have been discovered. Some of these are the remains of tools, such as microliths, which were used for creating arrows and harpoons, while some of the scatters represent camps, and some are evidence of short-stay hunting sites close to the wetlands.
Other discoveries include a probable Bronze Age field system and track-way, and late Iron Age and early Roman iron working sites near Hillcroft Farm in Crowhurst, and Upper Wilting Farm in St Leonards.
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In the beginning
The first reference to Bexhill, or Bexelei as it was originally called, was in a charter granted by King Offa of Mercia in 772 AD. It is recorded that King Offa had “defeated the men of Hastings” in 771 AD.
Bexhill-on-Sea hosted the first British motor race meeting in 1902. Until recently this was celebrated annually, with a Festival of Motoring on the first bank holiday in May. There is now a Motoring Heritage Centre at the Sackville on De La Warr Parade, featuring photos and historical information on the original races.
A resort revival
During the 1800s, Reginald Sackville, seventh Earl De La Warr, decided to transform Bexhill into an exclusive seaside resort, which he named Bexhill-on-Sea. He played a part in building the sea wall south of the village, and the road above it, named De La Warr Parade.
An award-winning beach
Fascinating rock pools emerge at low tide, and from the beach you can enjoy unspoilt views of Beachy Head to the west. Famed in the Victorian era as a spa, the bracing sea air was thought to leave you purified and restored. The town caused quite a stir in 1901, when it became the first mixed-bathing beach in Britain.
While you’re there
The De La Warr Pavilion
The pavilion re-opened in 2005 as a national centre for contemporary arts. It was the first welded steel frame building in the country. It now hosts exhibitions and concerts.
01424 229111; dlwp.comEat…
The Orangery at The Powder Mills Hotel
An 18th century listed country house, where everything served in the restaurant is homemade on site, from bread to ice cream and sorbets to sweet meats.
01424 775511; powdermillshotel.comDrink…
A genuinely friendly pub, with a fantastic range of ales and wines, and excellent food, if you decide to stay for supper.
01424 843817; thedenbigh.comSleep…
Set in 38 acres of formal gardens and woodland, just the place for a lazy weekend.
0844 248 3836; bannatyne.co.uk