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(Firehills and Views)
Three miles to the east of Hastings, off the A259, Fairlight
consists of a few old coastguard cottages, a church and a
collection of modern seaside houses straggling downhill to
The lane down by the church leads to the Hastings Country Park,
which stretches for 5 miles from Fairlight to Hastings, this is
known as the Firehills by the locals due to the number of gorse
fires occuring in the height of summer. Its unspoilt sandstone
cliffs tumble down to the sea, broken only by gorse and
tree-covered glens. This is a fine vantage point from
which could once be seen 70 Martello towers, 66 churches,
40 windmills, 5 castles and 3 bays!
In the last century, a wreck (probably a smuggling vessel)
under the cliffs left many bodies and casks of spirits lying
on the shore. The sole survivor was a young lad found clinging
to the rocks, raving mad. News of the wreck sent scores of men
rushing to the beach to raid the casks. It was recorded that
some of the men literally drank themselves to death, and lay
with other corpses on the beach.
St Andrews church
was built in 1845, it has a tall tower that serves as a landmark
from the countryside inland, as well as from the sea. Amongst
the tombs in the churchyard are those of Richard D'Oyly Carte,
the founder of the Gilbert and Sullivan opera company and Thomas
Attwood Walmisley (1814 - 1856), who became Professor of Music
at Cambridge at the tender age of 22. He was a great friend of
Mendlessohn, and edited several of the composers scores.
| An infrequent Hastings to Rye bus route passes through the village.
The nearest station is in Hastings, with an hourly journey to London,
Eastbourne and Ashford . The nearest local station is at
Winchelsea on the Ashford line.
The main shopping centre is Hastings about 4 miles West.
| Fairlight has some of the most magnificent views in the area. Start by
parking in the Country Park, and walk down to the Coastguard Station.
Look to the East over the Dungeness marshes, on a good day you can
see Hythe. The Dungeness Power station is very imposing, even though it is
about 20 miles away. Due South on a clear day it is possible to see the French
If you are a naturist, the areas only nudist beach is between Fairlight
and Hastings, in a secluded cove.
The Firehills footpath walk to Hastings is very beautiful and enjoyable.
The tower of St Andrews Church
is open to the public at weekends in May and June and every day in July
and August this is well worth a visit as the views from the top are some
of the best in the South East of England. If the weather is clear it is
possible to view the cliff tops in Northern France.
Fairlight is believed to derive from the Anglo Saxon 'Fern Leagh'
meaning 'Bracken Clearing', however it is also possible for
the name to have derived from Pharos Light(Pharos a Roman word meaning lighthouse)
The village has also been known as Farleg, Farleia, Fernlega,
Farleigh, Fayrleigh and Farnleigh.