A walk within Winchelsea
Castle Street turns sharp left into North Street. Halfway down North Street, at the junction with School Hill, look to your right across the Brede valley towards the Udimore ridge and the town of Rye. When New Winchelsea was founded in 1288, the valley floor would have been a vast tidal estuary, which was the anchorage of Winchelsea. Imagine the spectacle of the ships riding at anchor or mooring at the quayside below you.
At the bottom of School Hill, on North Street, is an interpretation board describing the view over the Brede Valley and the history of the location. There are similar boards at three other cardinal viewing points around Winchelsea (the Look Out in the east, the former windmill site in the west and by St Johns Hospital wall in the south).
At the very end of North Street, is the Ferry Gate, also called the Pipewell Gate. The name Pipewell is a reference to the spring of that name at the foot of the hill. The alternative name is a reminder that this gate also led down to the ferry that crossed the River Brede to Udimore. The Pipewell Gate was badly damaged in the Castillian attack of 1380 and was rebuilt in about 1400 by the mayor, John Helde. His name and emblem appear (faintly) over the gate. Unfortunately, the gate is obscured by traffic signs, courtesy of the Highways Agency, on one side and a tangle of bramble and rubbish on the other side.
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