Brian’s book brings Marsh to life

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RYE illustrator Brian Hargreaves has brought Romney Marsh to life in a new book.

Designed to be small enough to take around with you, Brian’s book is a gem, packed with accurate illustrations of the Marsh’s many landmarks, curiosities, flora and fauna.

The book is a follow-up publication to Brian’s popular Exploring Rye.

He has a great eye for detail and the captions, written by his wife, Joyce, add more interest and background to the illustrations.

Here you will find a smuggler’s grave, marked only by a length of wood and metal spikes, abandoned lighthouses, and the strange sound mirrors - giant devices set up before the outbreak of World War II to detect enemy aircraft.

Also covered are the Marsh’s many historic churches and interesting pubs, including the church in Hythe which houses a gruesome collection of 2,000 human skulls.

Recorded, with meticulous detail, are the man follies and monuments of the Marsh.

But this is also a contemporary record, covering kite-surfing, amusement parks and the new wind turbines all transcribed in detailed line drawings.

The book has been divided into three sections. The first section follows the coastline from Rye Harbour to Hythe; the second follows the length of the Royal Military Canal from Seabrook just beyond Hythe to Pett Level beyond Winchelsea, a town built by order of Edward I which is a thirteenth century piece of town planning built on a grid system; thirdly and finally the heartland of the marsh with its wealth of 12th century and Norman Churches.

Most of these places have to be visited by motorised vehicles or bikes but there are many routes that can be used by walkers, the Royal Military Canal alone has 28 miles of footpaths.

Brian’s eye for detail emerged from when he was a student at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts and took architecture as one of his subjects.

He is married to Joyce who is also an artist and an author. In the Romney Marsh book she has researched and written the text and also drawn the pictures of people and animals.

Exploring Romney Marsh is available from Martello Bookshop, Adams, The Tourist Information Centre, The Heritage Centre and the museum priced at £6.50.