Mascot re-ignites idea for town dinosaur trail

Sussex Beds Bexhill mascot Dino SUS-170213-123010001
Sussex Beds Bexhill mascot Dino SUS-170213-123010001

A giant dinosaur mascot with a fondness for fancy dress is hoping to help put Bexhill’s prehistoric past on the map.

Dino – who stands guard outside Sussex Beds in the town – has sparked a plan to introduce a historic walking trail around the town that would take in all its primeval landmarks, and help put the seaside community on the wider tourist map.

Ian Hollidge, who has led tourist trails as a member of the Bexhill Wheelers cycle group, is keen to introduce the cultural walking trail around the town after taking inspiration from Dino, when he popped into the Sussex Beds store in King Offa Way to buy a new bed.

And as and when the trail is introduced, he hopes to include the towering Sussex Beds mascot as a stop off point for visitors and tourists.

Mr Hollidge, who has lived in the town for more than 30 years, said: “The Bexhill Museum has got a fantastic collection of fossils and down on the beach you can see dinosaur footprints.

“The idea of the trail would be to create something of interest and educational value, but also something people could do as a family, going from the museum, to Dino and the seafront.

“We’re really trying to promote the seafront and dinosaurs are a great draw.

“A lot of people I’ve spoken to are behind the idea of the trail but that’s as far as it’s gone for now. Seeing Dino at Sussex Beds has re-ignited the inspiration.”

Dino – who gets dressed up for special occasions like Christmas – is a well-known figure in Bexhill and harks back to its Cretaceous past. The rocks the town is situated on are around 140 million years old and contain the remains of the dinosaurs that used to roam its then freshwater surroundings.

Over the years the fossils of several dinosaur species have been found including Iguanodon, Megalosaurus, Baryonyx, Polacanthus and the tooth of a Velociraptor-type animal, many of which are on display in the museum.

Julian Porter, curator at Bexhill Museum, thought a dinosaur trail could help boost the attraction’s expansion plans.

He said: “We would like to extend Bexhill Museum with a new wing to include our local dinosaurs and all the archaeological finds from the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road.

“A Bexhill Dinosaur Trail could be a useful first step on the way towards this by raising interest in our geological heritage and our exciting dinosaur project.”

Mr Hollidge plans to apply for outside grants and funding to help get the dinosaur trail in place.

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