Restoring The Long Man of Wilmington

The Long Man of Wilmington is now looking much more prominent from the road. This proud South Downs figure is now gleaming white having now received a fresh coat of paint and a trim.

Charlotte Allen, Heritage Landscape Assistant with East Sussex County Council and James Neal, Head Gardener at Michelham Priory, did an incredible job of organising a team to help to restore the Long Man to his former glory: volunteers came together from The Sussex Archaeological Society’s ‘Skills for the Future project’, Seven Sisters Park and Michelham Priory. Together they made the epic climb up the steep slopes armed with shears to trim the grass and paintbrushes to recoat the blocks that form the outline of this historic spot.

The Long Man is repainted every 4 years and this year paint and brushes for the project were generously donated by Brewers Decorator Centre in Eastbourne. The Long Man’s East Staff measures 2,768 inches and there was considerable debate over how much paint would be needed for the job! In the end it took up to 80 litres of paint to cover him. Volunteers were incredibly lucky with the weather on the two days of painting in September and October, as any rain prior to and during the job, would have caused problems for the paint drying. Indeed the volunteers were extremely lucky with the weather!

In addition to the Long Man of Wilmington having a facelift, The Sussex Archaeological Society’s CEO Tristan Bareham gave a follow up talk for volunteers and staff regarding the history of the Long Man. This took place on 3rd October at nearby Michelham Priory titled “Retracing the lines: Exploring the origins and understandings of the Long Man“. This was an open event and provided opportunities for people to ask questions about the Long Man. Attendees were granted free access to Michelham Priory’s House and Gardens for the day as a thank you.

Special thanks must go to Brewers for their kind donation to the project and to Michelham Priory, The Skills for the Future Project, East Sussex County Council, Seven Sisters Country Park and many other local volunteers from the local area for their help and support with this project.

The Society gratefully acknowledges the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and East Sussex County Council in funding its Skills for the Future programme.

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