Pevensey Castle - Wednesday 12th April 2017
As it was the school holidays I decided to take some of the kids to an English Heritage site for a day out. As I am a member the entry fee is not charged and it is therefore a reasonably cheap day out (we took our own picnic lunch to save a few quid too). As I had not been there for at least 25 years and the fortification had been mentioned on a couple of TV programmes recently I decided it might be a good bet.
As we have been talking a lot about the Roman and 1066 Norman invasions at home recently, I thought that a trip to this particular castle was rather apt. The kids have been to Bayeux, Battle Abbey on several occasions (even watching the annual re-enactment a few times), and Hastings, but the only major place left for them to visit on William's tour of duty was Pevensey.
It was a rather bleak morning but the sun did pop out from behind the clouds on occasion to brighten things up a little bit. It is a rather small site still, but there is a very small museum on site now which wasn't there the last time I visited. It took us about an hour and a half to wander round and see all the sights, just long enough that something could be learned without the little ones getting too bored.
Other than one "modernised" walkway, none of the walls or towers can be climbed any more. The last time I was there I was able to get into some of the towers and sit in the arrow slits to enjoy some of the views that many a Norman soldier must have done. It didn't really detract from my enjoyment but it may do for some who are more adventurous (read: without worrying about kids taking a tumble).
The castle has seen quite a bit of action throughout its life as a Roman fortress, Saxon fortified village and Norman castle. There are four recorded sieges and it was also modified with gun emplacements to help fight against the Spanish and the French several centuries later, as well as a pill-box looking emplacement for World War Two use. The bay in which the castle stands has been drained over the years for land reclamation, so rather than seeing green fields, the Roman and Norman forces would have seen the sea and lots of coastal marshland.
In all, it was a good morning out. The kids enjoyed themselves and hopefully learned a few things. I recommend the castle for a morning or afternoon visit if you are ever in the area, perhaps alongside a trip to Battle Abbey and Hastings Castle? It was also useful for thinking about castle usage from a gaming perspective. I bought the guide book whilst there, but have not got around to giving it a good read yet, but I daresay I can glean lots of great information from it.