Hastings West Hill in East Sussex

Google map showing area surrounding Hastings West Hill
(Ancient Norman Castle)
Location: 40.585474,-98.415984
General Details
West Hill from the StadeThe West Hill is the most prominent feature in Hastings, and can be seen from most of the sea front, from the Harbour to the Pier and beyond into St Leonards .

To get to the hill top, you can walk the many flights of steps from the Old Town or you can take a hidden cable railway from George Street to the top. This Cable railway was built in the 1800's and was then powered by spring and rain water fed into a tank under the top carriage, whose weight took the top carriage down and the visitors in the bottom carriage up. It is also possible to drive to the top by travelling from the Town Centre or by going inland from the Old Town .

The Castle was built in 1086 by the Normans to defend the port of Hastings from unwanted visitors from northern europe , and provided accomodation for the king on his journeys to Normandy . The Count of Eu a relative of William was given the Rape of Hastings , and the responsibility of retaining communications with Normandy .

The Castle had a few famous visitors , King William II stayed here in 1095 while he waited for favourable seas to take him to France, while here he visited the newly formed Abbey at Battle .

King Steven visited in 1149, and King John was here in 1201 . The final Royal visit before the 18th century was King Edward I who came to this prominent Cinque Port in 1274.

From the 1300's to the present day, the castle appears to have had limited occupiers, and in 1343 and 1366 the people of Hastings finding it empty stole from it, but that seems to be the last event that the castle was involved in.

The West Hills are made from sandstone and have many caves in, it is believed that many of the caves were dug in the 1700's by people excavating the sand which is of a high quality for its use in glassmaking.

It is thought that the caves were used by the smugglers to hide contraband in the 18th century, but this was probably limited as the excavation of the caves for glass was at around the same time, however it makes a good story for the local Tourist Trade. It is more likely that the fishermen of Hastings were used to carry contraband from Europe, and land the goods at Fairlight , Pett or along the coast on the current Pevensey Levels where Normans Bay now stands.
Hastings West HillFrom the top of the hills on a clear day you can see the coast of France.

A visit to the Castle with its spectacular views provides a good summer afternoon occupation.

Looking down on the old town is quite spectacular, with the old narrow streets and rooftops contrasting with the grass and the rocks of the East Hill .

The whole of the Hastings and St Leonards sea front is visible, and the South Downs at Eastbourne and Beachy Head can be seen in the distance.
Hastings Norman CastleThere is the cable railway which is quite fun to travel on, a cafe is found at the top together with a large grassy park. The Hastings caves can be found about a half mile from the castle towards Ore .

Children are catered for with the childrens playpark on top of the hill, and there are a small number of shops and public houses within the area.
Hastings West Hill is shown as the red symbol on the map.

Nearby Villages

(click on symbol to see the village page)
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Local Interest
Just click an image
Wadhurst History Society
Ninfield History Group
The Bald Explorer for local documentaries
Roman, Saxon and Norman History of the South East
Battle and District Historical Society
Talk in Code fabulous new Album
For all things mosaic, commissions workshops etc please contact Hannah
Hastings Rock the place to listen to
Wealden Iron Research Group
Hastings Area Archaeological Research Group
Battle Museum of Local History
(Hard to find but worth the Visit)