UK Battlefields - The UK Battlefields Trust Resource Centre - Sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Hartnett Trust
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Plaque to battle sited beside the lane to the causeway
 
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Maldon is still a minor port today with boats, old and new tying up at the Hythe
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Visiting the Battlefield

Maldon is the only battlefield in England from before 1066 which is believed to be accurately located. However uncertainties remain and so a visit must be made knowing that it may eventually be shown that the battle took place on a different site. This having been said, a visit is still well worthwhile. There are several key landmarks which allow one to appreciate very easily the currently accepted interpretation, as long as one has a basic understanding of the ways in which the landscape have been transformed since 991. When on the battlefield the visitor can consider possible alternatives interpretations as to the deployment of the troops during the main action and the extent of the area over which fighting may have taken place.

Although lying in close proximity to the rapidly expanding town of Maldon, with housing development and a landfill site encroaching quite closely on the north side, the battlefield has not yet been affected directly. Once one has passed the landfill site one feels very much in open country when walking around the battlefield.

The battlefield itself lies on farmland to the south east of the town. The recommended walk starts from Promenade Park which can be approached south westwards from the town centre via High Street, Mill Road and Park Drive. There is pay and display parking at the furthest, north eastern corner of Promenade Park.

Maldon is a pleasant small town and there are several places to visit there which have 20th century exhibits relevant to the battle. It is possible to walk to the battlefield from the town. That walk, as outlined in the battle leaflet available from the Tourist Information Centre, takes one past St Mary’s Church, with its modern stained glass window to the battle, and alongside the picturesque Hythe, with its historic and modern boats tied up at the quay. However this longer trip (4 miles) adds nothing to the appreciation of the battle or battlefield and so it is recommended that the walk be shortened, starting from Promenade Park on south east side of the town.

The majority of the battlefield, as currently understood, is in the ownership of the National Trust. Special arrangements can be made with the National Trust to visit Northey Island itself and to use the private lane to Northey Island from the B1018, which runs past South House Farm to a small private parking area next to the sea wall. However the recommended way to visit the battlefield is on foot along public rights of way.

INTERPRETATION

There is no monument on the battlefield and no on site interpretation other than a small plaque, adjacent to the small private car park near the causeway. However the real monument to the battle is the famous 10th century poem The Battle of Maldon. Given that almost the whole site is in ownership of the National Trust, one of the few battlefields in England to be owned or managed by a conservation organisation, it is a great shame that investigation, conservation and interpretation of the battlefield has not been given a far higher priority.

There is a TIC in Maldon town centre. This sells a Maldon Battle leaflet with details of a self guided trail. It also provides a wide range of information on sites of historic interest in the area.

 

   
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