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1066 Harold's Way facts for kids

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1066 Harold’s Way is a long-distance path in South East England. It was developed in 2013.

The path goes from Westminster Abbey to Battle Abbey. It goes through London, Kent and East Sussex. The route includes parts of the Thames Path, the Green Chain Walk, the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the High Weald AONB.

1066 Harold’s Way commemorates King Harold II’s march to the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066. It is based on the Roman road network that was still being used in 1066. That went from London to Rochester along Watling Street and then south through Maidstone, Staplehurst, Sissinghurst, Benenden and Bodiam, a clear route through the former Forest of the Andreasweald and a route that offers some of the best scenic views for walkers.

The total length of 1066 Harold’s Way is 160 km (100 miles), mainly along Public Footpaths and Public Rights of Way (PRoW) and as a result, is unsuitable for cyclists or riders on horseback.

The route is mixed-category in that it varies throughout the length from footpath (80%) to bridleway, byway and road. Some 15% of 1066 Harold’s Way is along roads, of which almost all are on minor lanes. The route is accessible by public transport.

1066 Harold’s Way links with the 1066 Country Walk.

London to Rochester

From Westminster Abbey, 1066 Harold’s Way follows the Embankment and the Thames Path to Greenwich, the O2Arena and the Thames Barrier. It continues to Erith along the Green Chain Walk through Marryon Park, Charlton Park, Plumstead Common, Bostall Woods, and Lesnes Abbey Woods. After Cray Marshes, the path follows the River Darent through Dartford to climb up to the North Downs at Beacon Hill Country Park. It continues through Jeskyn’s Country Park, past the Darnley Mausoleum to join the North Downs Way. It then goes to Rochester along the Strood Community Trail. It ends at Rochester Castle (English Heritage).

Rochester to Battle

1066 Harold’s Way leaves Rochester by the Medway Valley Walk. It joins the North Downs Way (NDW) to go up to Bluebell Hill with views south over the Medway Valley towards Maidstone. Going downhill, it passes Kit's Coty House (English Heritage). It leaves the NDW to follow the path through Cobtree Manor Park joining the River Medway, close to Allington Lock, for the final walk, along the Medway Valley Walk, to Maidstone and The Archbishop’s Palace. The route continues through the Loose Valley Conservation Area up onto the ragstone ridge to join the route of the old Roman road on the descent into the Low Weald. It continues through Staplehurst, Hocker Edge, Sissinghurst Castle (National Trust), Sissinghurst, Benenden, Iden Green and Sandhurst joining the Sussex Border Path to Bodiam Castle (NT). 1066 Harold’s Way finishes at Battle Abbey (EH) where it links with 1066 Country Walk from Pevensey to Rye.

Battle sites

1066 Harold’s Way passes by or overlooks some of the key battle sites in English History including:

  • Hastings (1066)
  • Medway (AD 43)
  • Aylesford (455)
  • Southwark (1066)
  • Rochester (1215, 1264, & 1667)
  • Cobham (1554)
  • Maidstone (1648)

Places of interest

  • Battlefields of Kent and Sussex by Rupert Matthews, Frances Lincoln, ISBN: 978-0-7112-2826-9
  • 1066 Country Walk: Brian Smailes, Challenge Publications, ISBN: 978-1-903568-00-2
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