Battle re-enactors walk in the footsteps of King Harold

English Heritage re-enactors prepare to leave Clifford's Tower ahead of a three week 300 mile journey south recreating King Harold's final journey to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. This year marks the 950th anniversary of the Norman Conquest and the marchers will pass through Lincoln and London on the way to Battle arriving on the 14th October, in time for the annual battle re-enactment which takes place on the weekend of the 15th/16th October. Picture: Anthony Chappel-Ross for English Heritage SUS-160929-143853001
English Heritage re-enactors prepare to leave Clifford's Tower ahead of a three week 300 mile journey south recreating King Harold's final journey to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. This year marks the 950th anniversary of the Norman Conquest and the marchers will pass through Lincoln and London on the way to Battle arriving on the 14th October, in time for the annual battle re-enactment which takes place on the weekend of the 15th/16th October. Picture: Anthony Chappel-Ross for English Heritage SUS-160929-143853001

A group of intrepid re-enactors set off from York on an epic journey on Sunday (September 25), inspired by the one King Harold took exactly 950 years ago, marking the Battle of Hastings anniversary.

Organised by English Heritage, re-enactors on foot and horseback will travel south over three weeks, arriving at the battlefield site on October 14, the date in 1066 when the forces of Harold and Duke William of Normandy met in arguably the most famous and transformative battle in English history.

The marchers had more modern routes to content with than King Harold would have done. Here they cross the A19 outside of York. Picture: Anthony Chappel-Ross for English Heritage SUS-160929-143932001

The marchers had more modern routes to content with than King Harold would have done. Here they cross the A19 outside of York. Picture: Anthony Chappel-Ross for English Heritage SUS-160929-143932001

Taking a route based on the journey made by English forces in 1066, the group departed from Clifford’s Tower in York on September 25, the anniversary of King Harold’s victory over a Viking army at the Battle of Stamford Bridge.

Journeying through Yorkshire and the East Midlands, the march will visit the historic city of Lincoln, passing through the same Roman arch Harold and his men would have done on their way south.

Travelling through the Fens and on to Essex, the participants will visit Waltham Abbey, the church richly endowed by the English king, and where tradition says he may have been buried.

On the final weekend, the group will march into central London, joining a ‘pop-up’ Saxon encampment within Hyde Park on Saturday October 8.

The marchers provided an unusual sight as they walked through residential streets on day two of their journey. Picture: Anthony Chappel-Ross for English Heritage SUS-160929-143919001

The marchers provided an unusual sight as they walked through residential streets on day two of their journey. Picture: Anthony Chappel-Ross for English Heritage SUS-160929-143919001

The final week’s journey will travel from Westminster into Kent, through the Weald to East Sussex, paying tribute to what would be King Harold’s final journey.

Three weeks and three hundred miles after setting off, the re-enactors will arrive at Battle Abbey on the morning of the anniversary itself, in time to take part in the annual re-enactment event that marks the anniversary of the Battle of Hastings.

This year’s re-enactment will take place on Saturday October 15 and Sunday October 16.

More than 1,066 Norman and Saxon soldiers will clash in this special anniversary Battle of Hastings.

A double rainbow greeted the marchers as they prepared to leave Clifford's Tower in York on Sunday. Picture: Anthony Chappel-Ross for English Heritage SUS-160929-143906001

A double rainbow greeted the marchers as they prepared to leave Clifford's Tower in York on Sunday. Picture: Anthony Chappel-Ross for English Heritage SUS-160929-143906001

Visitors can step foot in the encampments, see the displays, meet the falconers, and the cavalry.

There will also be a chance to have a go at archery and have fun in a kids battle, meet the authors and visit the medieval traders.

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The first leg of the journey took the marchers out of York, crossing over the River Ouse. Over the next three weeks, they will pass through Lincoln, Peterborough and London, before arriving at Battle Abbey, where the Battle of Hastings took place, in time for English Heritage's annual battle-reenactment. Picture: Anthony Chappel-Ross for English Heritage SUS-160929-143838001

The first leg of the journey took the marchers out of York, crossing over the River Ouse. Over the next three weeks, they will pass through Lincoln, Peterborough and London, before arriving at Battle Abbey, where the Battle of Hastings took place, in time for English Heritage's annual battle-reenactment. Picture: Anthony Chappel-Ross for English Heritage SUS-160929-143838001

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