Historic and Beautiful Hastings

By: Douglas Scott

Hastings is a picturesque town and local government district in South East England, in the county of East Sussex. It is best known for its connection with the Battle of Hastings 1066, which actually occurred north of the town at Senlac Hill, the battle is commemorated today in the town of Battle.

Hastings was one of the Cinque Ports, but its significance as a port declined after the 19th Century and its main industry became fishing. It still has the largest beach based fishing fleet in England. From a fishing port it became a watering place and finally a seaside resort in Victorian times.

Hastings is situated where the sandstone beds, at the heart of the Weald, known geologically as the Hastings Sands, meet the English Channel, forming tall cliffs to the east of the town.

Hastings Old Town is in a sheltered valley between the East Hill and West Hill on which the remains of the Castle stand. In Victorian times and later the town has spread westwards and northwards, and now forms a single urban centre with the more suburban area of St Leonards on Sea to the west.

Roads from the Old Town valley lead towards the Victorian area of Clive Vale and the former village of Ore, from which The Ridge, marking the effective boundary of Hastings, extends north westwards towards Battle.

Beyond St Leonards, the western end of Hastings is marked by low lying land known as Glyne Gap, separating it from Bexhill on Sea. The sandstone cliffs have been the subject of considerable erosion in relatively recent times, much of the Castle was lost to the sea before the present sea defences and promenade were built, and a number of cliff top houses are in danger of disappearing around the nearby village of Fairlight.

The beach is mainly shingle, although wide areas of sand are uncovered at low tide. The town is generally built upon a series of low hills rising to 500 feet above sea level at The Ridge before falling back in the river valley further to the north.

There are a miniature railway, fairground rides and amusement arcades catering for tourists near the Fishmarket. The fishmarket includes the striking net shops, fishermans museum and Hastings Sea Life Centre.

Fishing boats are likely to be drawn up on the beach and there is a lifeboat station. Nearby is Hastings Old Town with a number of buildings dating from the earliest days of the town.

There are two funicular railways, known locally as the West Hill and East Hill Lifts respectively. Slightly inland is the small Stables Theatre, which shows mainly local productions and acts as an arts exhibition centre.

To the east of the town is the Hastings Country Park. This is an area of 2.67 km of lightly wooded and open land extending from hastings approximately 3 miles or 5 km along the cliff tops to Fairlight.

Another family pool with wave machine and water slide is situated at Glyne Gap, on the coast mid-way between Bexhill and Hastings. Glyne Gap also sports a bowling alley and shopping centre.

There is a small Odeon cinema in Hastings, however there are plans to renovate an area known as the Priory Quarter in the town centre, plans include large office spaces, retail units and a new large multi screen cinema.

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