Posted: 1 April 2006 23:51

As the weather for today was the best forecast for the weekend, I decided to jump on my bike and get out into the countryside again.

The Long Man of Wilmington

I went out to Wilmington to visit a few sites, some well-known, others less so.

Despite a fearsome headwind, I managed to reach the valley over which the 'Long Man of Wilmington' watches. The Long Man is a figure originally carved into the chalk of the South Downs, now outlined in concrete blocks painted white. It used to be thought that he was prehistoric, although recent archaeological excavation suggests a mid-16th century origin.

After a long hard slog, I managed to reach a point above the Long Man. The photo below shows why I come out here regularly; with a view like that just 40 minutes' bike-ride from home, wouldn't you be out here too? The previous photo was taken from where the red spot is, just above my left elbow.

view from above the Long Man

I also went out to view the white horse cut into the chalk above Litlington, near Alfriston; I'll explain the significance of these monuments in a later blog.

pillbox at Wilmington Aerodrome

Turning around and moving north, I passed near to the site of Wilmington Aerodrome, the home of Eastbourne Flying club back in the 1930's.

Although it saw no combat use during World War Two (I think it was used in a minor role though; I'll have to do some digging to ascertain this), it was defended by this pillbox I photographed from a nearby footpath; it is listed in the Defence of Britain Database as a Type 24 variant form, but no mention of the aerodrome is made.

- Pete



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Generic term for a hardened field defensive structure usually constructed from concrete and/or masonry. Pillboxes were built in numerous types and variants depending on location and role.

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Hibbs, Peter The Long Man of Wilmington (2024) Available at: Accessed: 17 July 2024

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