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Archive for April, 2010

Strolling round Stepney, wandering through Wapping

East London

Detail from Cable Street Mural

Detail from Cable Street Mural

I’ve just signed up to The London Mural Preservation Society, recently set up by some lovely friends to record, protect, preserve and celebrate murals in the Capital. Having undertaken to research the Cable Street Mural, and as the sun was shining, it seemed a good idea to combine a visit to the mural with a walk around the East End. Along the way some wonderful local history, industrial heritage and a great part of London I was not too familiar with were to be found.

Start/Finish: London Bridge Station TQ330801

Length: 5¼ miles/3 hours

How to get there: This being London, as far as public transport is concerned, the world is your Oyster. Or your paper Travelcard if you prefer. London Bridge is served by numerous buses, trains, (Southern, Southeastern and First Capital Connect), and the tube. And you can join or leave the route at any point, using DLR, tube or bus.

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Rambles in Sussex

The cover of Southern Railway's 'Rambles In Sussex' booklet. From http://www.srpublicity.co.uk (click to enlarge)

While internet-researching the (old, pre-nationalisation) Southern Railway for information on Bishopstone Beach station, I came across a site demonstrating that what I’m doing here is entirely unoriginal. Once I’d got over the mock indignation and Captain Scott-like disappointment of knowing that, not surprisingly, someone got there first (although I didn’t eat any ponies on the way), it was great to see that the Southern Railway (and the post-nationalisation Southern Region of BR) was encouraging people to jump on board the train for a day out in the country.

In fact, in the days before television the Southern had a publicity department that issued a staggering amount of written information – not just on tickets or destinations but on pastimes, where to live, which school to send your children to, where to go on holiday; often in the form of wonderful Art Deco posters, many of which can be seen here.

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A fascinating slice of Sussex social history

Seaford to Newhaven, Sussex

Just a quick post this one, because this wasn’t really a planned walk, just an afternoon wander at the seaside that led me to a really interesting site, ideal for those (like me) fascinated by dereliction.

Start: Seaford Station TV481991

Finish: Newhaven Harbour Station TQ449009

Length: 2 miles/1½ hours, but allow plenty of time for exploring

How to get there: Both stations are on the Seaford branch, served by Southern services from Brighton and London via Lewes.

Tide Mills location map
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A lesson in landscape history

Ashurst to Eridge, Kent/Sussex border

I love the Weald, this being the area of sandstone hills between the chalk of the North Downs and the South Downs exposed by erosion of the overlying chalk and greensand layers. Here’s a quick geology lesson, pay attention at the back:

Got that? Good. There’s a history lesson later too, as there are three landscape features in particular that crop up regularly on this walk, each of which helps to tell the history of this part of southern England.

Beautiful woodlands, stunning views from rolling hills that drop into steep-sided sandstone ravines, only an hour from the centre of London, yet you can walk for miles without seeing another person. Not entirely sure why this should be, given that this is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, possibly because the two ridges either side have National Trails running along them that attract the tourists?

Start: Ashurst (Kent) Station TQ507387

Finish: Eridge Station TQ542345

Length: 5 miles/2½-3 hours

How to get there: Dr Beeching made this area quite difficult to access by railway, but there are still direct services from London, and a number of heritage steam railways locally too. Both stations are on the Uckfield line, served by an hourly Southern service from London Bridge via East Croydon. Alternatively, travel from London Victoria on the service to East Grinstead and change at Hurst Green or Oxted. NB: There’s an Ashurst station in the New Forest. Don’t go there. At least, not if you want to do this walk.

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