About Edgehill Battlefield
Edgehill Battlefield was the location of the first major engagement of the English Civil War and thus stands as the location of a crucial turning point in English history.
Edgehill Battlefield history
The battle itself came about after King Charles I and Parliament became locked in an increasingly dangerous political struggle for supremacy. By the summer of 1642, both sides had raised armies and Charles began to lead his forces towards London, in the hope of achieving a quick, decisive victory.
A Parliamentarian army led by the Earl of Essex was sent to block the King, though both sides seemed to have little intelligence on the whereabouts of the other. Indeed, it was almost by accident that the two forces blundered into each other at Edge Hill in southern Warwickshire, and the resulting battle was fought on 23rd October 1642, largely ending in a costly and bloody stalemate.
The clash remains one of the largest and most significant battles of the English Civil War, and was the first time the armies of Parliament and the King formally deployed opposite each other; it irretrievably signalled the start of a long and bloody conflict.
Edgehill Battlefield today
For decades, what was considered the core of the battlefield had been inaccessible to the public, however a recent and major archaeological survey – the first of its kind in England – has since revealed the more accurate locations of key actions and army movements. These modern insights now confirm that the local footpaths, rights of way, and permissive paths available to the public have a much closer relationship with the events of the day.
Visitors to the site can gain an understanding of the battlefield by walking a number of routes around the area, with information boards detailing its history. Much of the battlefield remains either private agricultural land or under Ministry of Defence ownership however.
In nearby Radway, the Battle of Edgehill Exhibition is a useful companion to visits of the site, providing a free and interactive experience with a more detailed display of the site’s history.
Getting to Edgehill Battlefield
Edgehill Battlefield is located in Edgehill, Warwickshire, and can be explored by taking the footpaths around the area. A good place to start may be at the exhibition in Radway, which is located in St. Peter’s Church and can be accessed by taking the B4086 into the village. Parking is available outside the church, from which a footpath takes you towards the battlefield and out over the Edgehill escarpment.
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