Seeing Brilliant White From The Skies - Donating Paint To The Long Man Of Wilmington

November 28th, 2023

The Long Man of Wilmington – a ‘chalk’ figure on the South Downs near to Eastbourne – has been restored to a gleaming white, following a donation from Brewers Eastbourne of 70 litres of Albany Smooth White Masonry Paint, brushes and containers.

The transformation took place earlier this autumn when approximately 20 volunteers made the steep climb up to paint the 770 concrete blocks that make up the outline.

The Long Man was originally chalk but in Victorian times it was changed to yellow bricks to save it from erosion. In 1969, these had to be replaced with concrete blocks as the bricks were being taken as souvenirs or eroded.

Brewers have been supporting the repainting of the figure for many years. The site is maintained by the Sussex Archaeological Society and James Neal, who is the head gardener at another of their nearby sites, said: ‘We normally paint it every 3 to 5 years and I know that for at least the last 15 years Brewers have donated the paint which is really nice of them.’

He added: ‘When it gets painted and looks all new and fresh, we get loads of comments, especially from people who go past it on the train and see it looking so bright.’

The Long Man, which is approximately 72 metres (235 feet) tall, is first strimmed and then the team went back a few weeks later to cut back any other encroaching foliage before painting the figure to make it clearer and brighter.

James said: ‘I’ve painted it twice now and it normally takes from 9am till about 3pm with plenty of tea breaks obviously! This year we are hoping to make it a bigger occasion as people are able to sponsor a block so they may turn up to help too but we are always looking for more volunteers.’

The finished result looks absolutely incredible and was even seen on ITV news! Find out more about Sussex Archaeological Society here>>