Video: Medieval village takes shape at Lewes Railway Land

As part of the 750th anniversary of the Battle of Lewes a medieval village is rapidly taking shape on the town’s Railway Land Nature Reserve.

It is integral to the Prepare for Battle project where up to 150 young people between the ages of 16 and 21 will be camping in medieval conditions for the duration of the three-day festival next month.

Building a 'medieval village' on the Lewes Railway Land Nature Reserve.

Building a 'medieval village' on the Lewes Railway Land Nature Reserve.

The structures, mostly hazel with water reed thatch, are being built using traditional techniques – not a nail or screw anywhere, just simple lap-joints and tarred string to hold them together using wooden hammers and small axes.

All the materials have been transported to the site by hand, using a push-along wagon. Four buildings are well under way and there are plans for 10 more hovel-type dwellings, a cooking area and the all important ‘hustings’ area where politicians, politicos and political commentators will discuss democracy with the young people for the three days.

Veteran campaigner Peter Tatchell is the most recent to sign up and joins, amongst others, Lewes MP Norman Baker, Polly Toynbee and even a medieval totalitarian king!

The village build days so far have been hard but extremely rewarding. A hardcore of Lewes Youth Theatre members have been at the forefront of the build, facilitated by woodsman Paul Webster. There has been a good number of volunteers – from six-year-olds upwards to some supportive parents.

The build days next week are Tuesday, April 15, and Wednesday, April 16, from 10am-4pm both days. All are welcome.

The Heritage Lottery-funded Prepare for Battle @ 750 Festival promises to be a truly spectacular event and the ultimate family experience.

You can get tickets now by visiting or from Lewes Tourist Information Centre or Lewes Castle. It’s taking place on Friday, May 16 (£8), May 17 (£10) and May 18 (£10). A three-day ticket costs £25 and under-25s go free.