The Long Man Of Wilmington, Wilmington, Polegate, East Sussex, BN26 5SE
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The Long Man Of Wilmington near Seaford is Europe’s largest portrayal of the human form, dating back to at least 1710, with some evidence suggesting as far back as the 4th Century.
This mysterious guardian of the South Downs has baffled archaeologists and historians for hundreds of years. In 1925, the site of the Long Man was given to The Sussex Archaeological Society by the Duke of Devonshire.
In 1766, the artist William Burrell made a drawing during his visit to Wilmington Priory, which lies under the steep slopes of Windover Hill. Rowley’s drawing suggests that the original figure was a shadow or indentation in the grass rather than a solid line. The face had distinctive helmet shape, giving credence to the idea of him being a war-god.
The lack of firm historical evidence means that many theories of his origins abound. Some are convinced that he is prehistoric, others believe that he is the work of an artistic monk from the nearby Priory between the 11th and 15th centuries. Roman coins bearing a similar figure suggest that he existed in the 4th century AD and there may be plausible parallels with a helmeted figure found on Anglo-Saxon ornaments.
The Long Man of Wilmington is situated six miles north-west of Eastbourne (OS 199 TQ543034). It is signposted from the A27, two miles west of the junction with the A22 at Polegate and 10 miles east of Lewes and located south of the village of Wilmington.
Buses serve the A27, and British Rail stations served direct from Eastbourne, Lewes, Hastings and London are at Berwick (3 miles) and Polegate (2.5 miles). Please check local timetables for details.
The Long Man may be reached by public footpaths to the base and the top of the figure and interpretation boards are located at the car park and at the bottom of the hill showing details of these. The rights of way to the base of the figure are reasonably easy for walkers but are probably not suitable for wheelchairs.
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