Tag Archives: railway station

Wandering: Box Hill, Surrey

14 Jun

The recent extended Diamond Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend gave my friend Chris and I chance to get out for a walk, unfortunately the less than ideal weather conditions meant that it was only going to be a brief walk.

Short of time we decided to head to Box Hill near the town of Dorking, Surrey. Box Hill is just a short train ride from Horsham and situated on the North Downs. If we didn’t have time to get out onto the South Downs then the North Downs would have to do.

Box Hill is also going to be playing its part in the London Olympics. It is hosting part of the cycling road race (both the womens and mens races) and we were interested to see how preparations were going. The cyclists will be racing up and down Box Hill as part of the road race before heading back into London from whence they came.

They will no doubt appreciate the newly re-surfaced road, but the freshly erected signs will probably be no more than a blur as they whizz past, on the way from Dorking to the top of the hill.

Apart from the new road surface and signs there didn’t seem to be a great deal to indicate that the Olympics were coming. There has been a bit of clearance along the roadside, where spectators will be crowded, but apart from that you could be forgiven for not noticing the approaching furore.

Of course the cyclists will not have time to enjoy the view from the top of Box Hill over the town of Dorking, Surrey. A view made all the better for the presence of a trig point. Nor will they have to experience the steep and slightly treacherous descent down the side of the hill, which was nice and slippery after the recent rainfall. Unfortunately that all means they will miss the joy of having to pick their way across the River Mole on the concrete stepping-stones.

The closest railway station is Box Hill and Westhumble, Westhumble is the village to west of the railway line and Box Hill is east of the station. It is a delightful little station which although short on facilities has quite a reasonable service. It’s survival is probably down to its role as a gateway to the North Downs.

When we visited it was receiving the attention of railworkers, who were busy excavating the southern end of the station, presumably to enable extension of the platforms in anticipation of the increase in traffic that the Olympics will bring.

In a fitting tribute to forthcoming Olympic games the workers were taking part in a their own relay. Taking it in turns to push wheelbarrows full of stones and soil along the length of the platform the skip waiting outside the station.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Festival of Postcards: Locomotion – Partridge Green Station

19 Aug

The theme for the latest edition of the Festival of Postcards (hosted by Evelyn at A Canadian Family) is “Locomotion”. I don’t think there are any postcards in my collection that sum this up better than the one below of Partridge Green railway station in Sussex.

Partridge Green Station

There is no name of a photographer or publisher on this card, it was posted from Partridge Green on the 27th November 1907 and sent to a Miss B. Longhurst of Ashington, Sussex. Historic postcards of railway stations are eagerly collected and command high prices. I was lucky enough to get this one several years ago.

Partridge Green station was on the Horsham to Shoreham branch (or the Steyning Line as it was also known) of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway. It was opened in 1861 and closed in 1966, and the route of the line now forms part of the bridleway linking the North Downs Way and the South Downs Way, known as the Downs Link and is one of my favourite places to walk.

I will give you a quick tour of the station before the train arrives. We are standing at the southern end of the northbound (or up) platform for trains to Horsham, with a small wooden shelter. To the right of that is via the footbridge linking the two platform. Behind the footbridge the road bridge can just be made out, this is the only part of the station that still remains, and even then it has been filled in and only one side remains visible.

On the other platform are passengers waiting for the down train (towards Brighton). Left to right from the footbridge we have the signal box, ticket office and waiting rooms, and the tall building is the station master’s house. To the right of those is the start of the goods yard and goods shed.

Anyway I must dash, I see the train is just coming in and I need to get across to the other platform or I will have to wait another hour. It looks like it’s going to be a busy train, I wonder where they are all going?

Wandering around Buxted

19 Aug

From High Hurstwood I made my way to the village of Buxted. I was hoping I might find a few ancestral gravestones here, but my hopes weren’t very high as I have no evidence that any of my ancestors were buried at Buxted, but merely lived in the parish for a while.

To be honest I was a little disappointed with the church of St Mary the Virgin at Buxted. I am not sure why, it looks quite nice, but I just didn’t warm to it. There was a small graveyard behind the church, which was being kept trimmed by sheep (at least I think those shaggy things that moved to the next field when they saw me coming were sheep).

St Mary the Virgin, Buxted

St Mary the Virgin, Buxted

A short walk down the road from the church is Buxted railway station. At one stage I had planned to catch the train back to Uckfield, but by this time I had decided I would walk back to the bus route and take the bus home. I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the station because it looked quite charming.

Buxted railway station

Buxted railway station

Next stop was the church of St Margaret the Queen, Buxted, set in the grounds of Buxted Park. This was much more to my liking, lovely and cool inside and well presented outside. There was lots going on here, a stone mason at work in the churchyard, and a gang of men on the roof replacing the shingles on the spire.

St Margaret the Queen, Buxted

St Margaret the Queen, Buxted

I was surprised by the number of people that visited the church whilst I was poking around amongst the gravestones. There are some very old gravestones here with some wonderful carvings, but sadly none that I could identify from any of my ancestral lines.

I resisted the temptation to visit Buxted Park Hotel. I don’t think they would have been amused at a hot and sweaty genealogist turning up in their lovely expensive hotel asking if they had any record of his great grandmother having worked there nearly 100 years ago. Perhaps one day when I am feeling very rich!

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