HELEN BURTON: You won’t go hungry in Pevensey!

Helen Burton SUS-160113-100959001
Helen Burton SUS-160113-100959001

Last weekend I was invited to tea at the Castle Cottage Tea Rooms in Pevensey by the new occupants.

Several locals were invited to see the newly renovated tea rooms which have been closed for around seven years, much to the frustration of Pevensey residents. Alongside Pevensey Castle, Castle Cottage is the responsibility of English Heritage, and it seemed to many that English Heritage were leaving the cottage to ruin with little maintenance being carried out during its long period of being vacant. It was so sad to see such a beautiful building looking abandoned and unloved, so it is great that is will soon be up and running again. The new tea rooms will be a welcome addition to Pevensey offering a vintage tea and sandwiches and cake experience, re-opening officially this Saturday, August 27.

Over the last few years the businesses around Town Square have all undergone major refurbishments except for the Mint House. At a time when homes are needed desperately by so many it seems irresponsible to leave any property empty, let alone to fall into disrepair. The last remaining property of concern in Pevensey is the historic Mint House which dates back to 1342. It has been described as one of the most interesting buildings in the South of England and it is in desperate need of new owners who can protect the panelling and frescoes inside the house. It’s up for sale by tender so if you have a bit (a lot) of spare cash lying around why not buy it and preserve a bit of history? Pevensey is a wonderful place to visit with a choice of the Priory Court Hotel, Restaurant and Tea Rooms, The Royal Oak and Castle and now Castle Cottage all offering varied opportunities to eat well while you explore the local area. There is plenty of room at the car park by the Castle and the fee to park there goes to a local charity, The Pevensey Town Trust. From there you can explore the Castle, the beautiful 800 year-old St Nicolas Church and the tiny Pevensey Museum, based in the oldest jail in the country. Thanks to local community group Pevensey Villages Partnership you can follow their heritage trail map around Pevensey, or you can follow various trails for a lovely walk through open countryside including one which brings you to Chilley Farm, which also has its own cafe. You won’t go hungry in Pevensey! St Nicolas church is having its annual Flower Festival between August 27 to 29 so this weekend is a particularly good time to visit.

The regeneration of Pevensey shows what can happen when businesses, residents, community groups and charities work together to improve an area, and it is a great model for other communities. Some fantastic work is also being done in the Devonshire ward of Eastbourne which has become a hive of activity and fun events in recent years. It just goes to show what is possible, so good luck to the Castle Cottage Tea Rooms!