A Last Few Goodbyes


Rotherhithe, July 1620

Men women and children clamouring excitedly waiting to board ship, their usual demeanour forgotten in the face of persecution and the opportunity for a new beginning.

What few possessions they owned were already loaded and as the tide rose, the ship creaked and rocked in the water and a few goodbyes were made as the last of the 65 passengers boarded.

Rotherhithe was the Mayflower’s home port and she had been carrying wine from the continent but, curiously and unusual for a ship trading to London, there was no record of any voyages of Captain Jones’s Mayflower from 1616. Such a ship would not usually disappear from the records for such a long time and one wonders what cargo she had been running but in any event, Captain Jones found time to take these Pilgrims to the New World.

Other ships lined the wharves, loading and unloading cargo and the noise of men and carts and horses, oaths shouted, orders given and the smell of the Thames would almost be the last that these people would remember of their capital, although they would have a final stop at Plymouth before fleeing England.

Next to where the Mayflower lay was The Shippe, a beer house, ignored by the Brethren for they did not drink, but much enjoyed by sailors and traders. Deals were done in the small dark candlelit rooms, buying and selling who knows what in this remote wharf, downstream from London Bridge and the city. Beyond the few houses that made up Rotherhithe were streams and marshes that drained into the great river and it would not be until the end of the century that great man-made docks would begin to be built that would transform the riverside.

Eventually, after being rebuilt in the 18th and 20th centuries and renamed The Mayflower, the pub remains a lure for regulars and visitors and for walkers along the Thames Path and 1066 Harold’s Way.

Image result for mayflower pub images 

There are still small rooms, wooden floors and tables were the day’s events can be readily discussed but now the sunlight streams through the windows and those dark days can only be imagined.

Walk 1066 Harold’s Way to one of London’s great pubs and share in its history.




Walk Ten Miles, One Day A Month


Walking 100 miles miles may appear a little daunting but breaking it down into easy bites makes it all the more achievable.

Put Walk 1, Westminster Abbey to Greenwich, in your diary for January and start your march to Battle.

That first section is along the Thames Path with some great pubs along the way and the train back to London at the finish.

Full walking and history notes are contained in the 1066 Harold’s Way guidebook to help you on your walk – available fro Amazon, Waterstones, Foyles and other good bookshops or by mail order from History Walks.

Make 2017 your ‘1066 Harold’s Way’ year.


Be part of the Legend

Route Map Poster

Imagine 1066, the Battle of Hastings and King Harold’s epic journey to his date with destiny.

Imagine being part of King Harold’s army, did it rain, was it dry? Three days of marching, the nights were drawing in, the noise, the fear and a battle to face – a camp at Rochester, a camp at Bodiam and a final climb to Caldbec Hill.

The 14th October 1066 is one of the most emotive dates in English history and Harold’s march to the Battle of Hastings is the stuff of legends.

You too can follow in King Harold’s footsteps, along his most likely route to the Battle of Hastings, by walking 1066 Harold’s Way, a walk that starts at Westminster Abbey and finishes at Battle Abbey, East Sussex.

You can be part of the legend of King Harold II.

Accessible by public transport, there is nothing to stop you sharing the experience of 1066 Harold’s Way, through London, Kent and East Sussex.

The guidebook for this 100mile long distance walk is readily available from Waterstones, Amazon, Foyles and other bookshops.

1066 Harold’s Way

True Warriors

The Final Adventure of Javier and Gavin

Finally Gavin and I have finished Harold’s Way.

The last day was longer than we expected and we finished in the dark and the pouring rain.


It was a valiant effort and I know what it is like having walked through hail, snow, rain and Sussex mud to get to Battle although I did not walk the last two stages in one go.

Certificates and passports have been sent.

Javier has to be congratulated in producing a vlog of their final walk and one of their whole adventure from Westminster Abbey to Battle.

Javier Gavin 9 and 10

Javier Gavin1066HW

Thanks for the films.

Advance Warning of Possible Congestion


What a weekend it will be, celebrating 950 years since the Battle of Hastings, 14th October 1066.

Battle re-enactments, civic ceremonies and a full programme of events organised by Concorde 1066 and English Heritage and the Normans have been invited too.

I wonder if they will be asked to camp on Telham Hill?

But the main event must be the opportunity to walk the final few miles of 1066 Harold’s Way from Bodiam Castle to Battle Abbey inspired by King Harold’s epic march from York.

In fact it seems that so many of you are ‘doing’ the walk that weekend that the footpaths are likely to be well trod, The Queens Head at Sedlescombe busy and with the Abbey Hotel normally packed with re-enactors, try The Kings Head on Mount Street or The Chequers at Lower Lake for a better pint to celebrate your march to Battle.

Enjoy the Walk

CLOG  Battle Ramblers 

Javier and Gavin  Battle 41 club


I just had to sit down

In Harold’s Footsteps


Reading July’s issue of Country Walking gave me more than a little lift with the realisation that 1066 Harold’s Way had been the inspiration behind Karen and Tim Reed’s letter ‘In Harold Footsteps’. Since those first thoughts back in 2007, in the book shop at Battle Abbey, that led me to research King Harold’s route to the Battle of Hastings, and on to the feasibility of a long distance walk, the journey has been amazing but at the same time all-encompassing with little time off for good behaviour.

Click to read the letter:             image