Hastings Today

The Coastal Adaptation Pathfinder report provide a detailed analysis of what impacts coastal processes, climate change and recent beach replenishment and sea defence works have had on the stade beach. In addition a structural condition review of the harbour arm which considers its strategic importance as a sea defence structure was undertaken in 2008.

It is clear that Hastings has had a long and relationship with the sea. While there is no evidence to suggest that this stretches back to the Roman era it can be said with some certainty that during the Saxon period the town and this relationship became firmly established. Over time Hastingswas to become one of the most important port towns in the country as a result of its membership of the Cinque Portswhile the town flourished its fishing industry was also one of the most prosperous in the country and played a vital role in the local economy. The present decline in the number of fishing boats, which is by no means unique to Hastings, is a result of over-fishing and the subsequent quota limits implemented by the EU. However this decline is just one of many that the fleet has had to withstand over the centuries as a result of both natural factors and anthropogenic activity. The continual loss of its harbour since the silting up of the original Saxon site in Priory Valley has left the town without a safe haven for its fleet for at least 500 years during which time it has had to launch off the present day stade in front of the Old Town. During this time they have had to contend with competition from other fishing fleets from Kentand Sussex, the south west of Englandand France. All these factors, when combined with a series of bungled attempts to construct a harbour worthy of the name during the 16th, 17th and late 19th centuries, might have proved terminal for others yet the fishing fleet has endured so that it is now Europe’s largest beach-launched fleet and as such is a vital part of the town’s heritage.
Fisherman’s Beach 2011