A visit to the Long Man of Wilmington

On Saturday afternoon I went out to the Long Man of Wilmington with Justin Hopper and Ben Graham. We were there for an event celebrating the upcoming premiere of the Nathan James’s On Windover Hill, a music piece about the Long Man. A large group took a walk around the hill figure, stopping occasionally for readings. There were also a couple of songs, including one about the Long Man by Maria Cunningham.

It was a fantastic afternoon. There’s something about walking that makes strangers more willing to talk than in lots of other social gatherings. Maybe it’s that you’re not forced to face each other; or it’s something about the rhythm of walking. Many of the people in the group were writers and artists, and I had some fascinating conversations.

Nathan also shared some facts about the Long Man. It’s apparently taller than the Statue of Liberty, and during the second world war it was painted green so that enemy pilots could not use it as a landmark.

The day itself was bright but windy. From the hilltop we could see pools of floodwater in the Cuckmere valley, shining gold in the sunlight.

We arrived early, which gave us time to explore the church of St Mary and St Peter, with its incredible yew tree, which some people say dates back to Roman times. A new set of supports have been added, but the yew is still standing.