Hastings has been a maritime centre for over a thousand years.
The shingle beach has always been called the Stade. The word dates from before the 1066 battle of Hastings and means ” landing place “. The Stade was origenally a small area between today’s boating lake and coach park, but the building of the 1887 groyne at Rock-a-Nore and the 1896 harbour stopped shingle moving east along the coast. The result was that the Stade then steadily grew out to seaward, providing new room for the fishing fleet and many amenities.
On the Stade is Britain’s biggest fleet of beach-launched fishing boats. The boats have to be hauled out of the sea after each trip, which stops them being more than about ten metres long. This means that they can only carry small amounts of gear and travel just a few miles. As a result the fleet has always fished in an ecologically sound way.
Harbours built at Hastings have never given much shelter, so the boats have always had to be pulled up the beach. Each vessel has a shed containing an engine and winch, opperated by a ” boy ashore ” and tractors help push the craft into the sea, especially when the tide is low.
Harbours have been built here since the 1500s but all have had short lives. The current wall dates from 1896.
There are many other interesting places to visit on the Stade, including Underwater World, the Shipwreck Heritage Centre, the East Hill Cliff Railway, the Lifeboat Station, the Coastguard Station and access to the Country Park.