The Battle of Hastings 950th Anniversary 2016
I received this message from Peter Wheeler and Peter has agreed that I may include his message on the History Walks Blog for comments, support or interest in his project. My reply can be read after Peter’s message:
I have pondered Harold’s forced march from Stamford Bridge/York to Senlac Hill since a school boy and took part in the 1966 local schools’ film.
It’s pretty sure that, as you point out, the army would use Roman roads and would have adapted the Ermine Street route.
This is now mostly busy modern roads.
I have walked from Land’s End to John O’ Groats off road and plan to do the same from Stamford Bridge in 2016 and wondered if you have had any thoughts of the route down to Westminster Abbey to link up with your 1066 Harold’s Way.
The intention in 2016 is to march south in roughly the same time that the Harold Army would have taken and arrive on 13th September. There may be some who would like to force-march the 1066 Harold’s Way rather than the whole way
Certainly from 11th Oct the plan will be to follow your route. I would be grateful for any comments.
Best regards, Peter Wheeler
It is good to hear from you and I am sure that there will be many others who would wish to support your project in 2016. It promises to be an extraordinary year.
If you don’t mind I would like to put your message on the History Walks Blog to see if any support is elicited.
I am not quite sure yet how my involvement in the year will pan out but I will be there on the fateful day to celebrate your ‘march’.
As to the route, you will need some poetic licence to avoid all those modern chariots, the Romans prohibited heavy carts during the day reserving the roads for their army and for marching – if only.
What I have done for 1066 Harold’s Way, The Final Journey, an 85 mile walk from Battle to Bosham is to draw a line, which in your case will be Ermine Street, and then link the villages from the Domesday Book.
This gave me a route along roads that would have been used in Saxon times and included bridleways that were formerly stretches of Roman road.
For 1066 Harold’s Way, I did piggy back on existing long distance paths to avoid traffic bottlenecks as walking the A2 is not much fun.
The Trans-Pennine Way and The Viking Way may be two links and then join up with The Nene Way to Peterborough. The latter two do use old green lanes and Roman roads which would meet your criteria.
Also by using such routes there are detailed walk notes already out there which may help in not getting lost.
I have totted up the walking hours for 1066 Harold’s Way and my route, even with the Thames Path, is very doable within the time frame, leaving London on 11th October. However, of course, English Heritage have a habit of celebrating the Battle on the nearest weekend rather than 14th October which may affect your plans. No dates announced yet for 2016 and Concorde 950, the body tasked with the celebrations, are equally reticent.
This e-mail is a bit long but I hope that it helps and I will keep you posted if I hear from others.
I have just met my publisher’s deadline for my latest walk so have a little more time to spend on the blog.
Best Regards, David, David Clarke and History Walks
The route of 1066 Harold’s Way, 100 miles from Westminster Abbey to Battle Abbey