East Hoathly's village gateway was funded by Wealden District Council as part of their "Cleaner, Greener, Brighter Wealden" campaign.

The gateway takes the form of a living sculpture and is situated towards the Shaw Roundabout, flanking the road that leads into the village.

view from road

The design set out to reflect both the agriculture and the rural and industrial history of the village using locally-sourced materials. Chestnut forms the Sussex cleft fence typical of those made by PB Fencing, which was established in the village for over 40 years.

The carved oak lattice screen stands behind the low single rail cleft fence. It has been carved to depict flames to represent the village Carnival Society and the spectacular annual bonfire celebrations which are an important part of the living history of the village.

All materials used are natural and sympathetic to their environment. The gateway is intended to be allowed to weather and grow, and will require very little maintenance so that it will mirror the natural growth and decay of its beautiful Sussex surroundings.


above: the willow hedge and the recently completed gateway


The flames also represent East Hoathly's vibrancy and vivacity as a community.

The theme of oak has been continued in a steel frieze in the shape of oak leaves to represent the abundance of ancient oak woodland in the parish. Intertwining with these leaves are feathers to represent the quill pen of the famous Georgian diarist and village trader Thomas Turner.

Planted behind the frieze is a woven willow hedge which represents the willow used to make Sussex trugs at Rich's Trug Makers, an agricultural carpentry business operational in East Hoathly until the 1970s.

The hedge will mature to provide a vibrant green backdrop to the oak lattice, and has been woven to achieve a 'laid hedge' effect to further echo the village's agricultural heritage.

Heather has been planted around the living sculpture, linking the village with the plant from which it takes its name. 'Hoathly' comes from the Old English 'hathel' and 'leah', meaning 'heathery wood clearing'.