Arrangements are now well advanced for the Trailboat Festival and we are looking forward to seeing boats on the River Rother at Bodiam Castle.
A highlight of the event will be the Saturday afternoon and evening. The National Trust are extending the opening hours of the castle until 8.00 pm, so why not make the most of this opportunity to visit the castle for free from 5.30 pm. Visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy this castle of wonder, one of Britain's most picturesque and evocative, set in the heart of 1066 country. With spiral staircases, battlements and a portcullis, 14th-century Bodiam Castle is the real thing. Windows where arrows were once fired, a tower that was once a look-out and ruins that were once walked upon by knights; this is a place where you can relive your childhood memories and let your imagination run riot.
Having toured the castle you will then be able to enjoy a barbecue and music before the traditional display of illuminated boats that the trailboaters put so much enthusiasm into.
So what better way to enjoy a Bank Holiday Saturday evening than in such beautiful surroundings?
Throughout the weekend there will be table based Wild over Waterways (WOW) activities for younger children.
Amongst the displays in the IWA marquee will be one relating to the restoration of the Rye Sailing Barge Primrose, which was built by William Evans Clark at Winchelsea Road Yard, Rye, probably around 1887. Rye barges worked on the River Rother and it is therefore highly likely that Primrose would have traded to the wharf at Bodiam.
The Rye river barges were small everyday working craft providing a vital link between the port of Rye and the hinterland of the rivers Rother, Tillingham, Brede and Royal Military Canal to Folkestone. In the late 19th century one company, Vidler & Son, became particularly associated with the fleet which worked in the harbour discharging cargos from the larger ships and working the cargoes up the shallower rivers and canal. Principal cargoes were timber, coal, hops, hop poles, manure, sand and ballast. The continuity of the tradition of this type of vessel can be traced back to early 16th century maps of Rye harbour and probably beyond.
The Primrose display will give a fascinating insight into the history of the local rivers.
There will also be displays from The Thames and Medway Canal Association and The Sussex Ouse Restoration Trust.
Standard National Trust charges apply to enter the castle and car parking costs £2 (free to National Trust members) but both will be free on the Saturday evening.
We look forward to seeing you at Bodiam.
Find out more about IWA National Trailboat Festival 2013