Lewes walker discovers St Leonard’s charms
Sea, street art (including a Banksy), fabulous regency architecture, grand art deco, aristocratic parkland, the rich, the poor and the trendy, and all within a kilometre of St Leonards Warrior Square station! Sustainable travel expert Chris Smith from Lewes has launched a new historic and scenic walk around St Leonards, writes Chris Cormack.
“Hastings and St Leonards sometimes get a bad press,” Chris says, “but I was amazed at what there was to see in St Leonards. It must be one of the most fascinating places in Sussex at the moment. I was surprised that there was no walking tour easily available, so I set out to create one.”
The walk is up to three miles long. Starting from Warrior Square station, it includes the bullet hole in Queen Victoria’s knee, Bumptious Mansions, a chance to swim, current issues in Marine Court, places of worship old and new, wonderful Georgian architecture and High Victoriana, a Banksy artwork, a visit to a Turkish bath, greenery in the city and a look at current social issues in the town. Chris also recommends that walkers learn more about St Leonards’ women from local resident Helena Wojtczak.
Chris’s thoughts on St Leonards also dwell on the degeneration or regeneration question. “The town is becoming attractive to some people, including artists, who like the old housing and the boho vibe and are not too worried about commuting or a slightly gritty atmosphere. Is this enough? Is it desirable?” he asks. He leaves it to the walker to decide whether St Leonards can take off in a virtuous spiral or remain in a vicious circle.
Travel Log Lewes is a sustainable travel and recreation project based in Lewes, covering Sussex and beyond. Chris Smith, or ‘travelman,’ started the website because he wanted to encourage people in Lewes to use public transport, walk and cycle more and because he was amazed that people didn’t know what was possible. On the site there is information about walks and cycle rides, bus and train routes and the cheapest fares. The website also offers details of walks around Battle and Rye.
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