The Sussex holiday cottage blog » Anyone seen Dick Turpin?
Anyone seen Dick Turpin?
Steam train enthusiasts, did you manage to see Flying Scotsman when it visited the Bluebell Railway in Sussex in the Spring? The visit was hugely popular and attracted an incredible number of people, many who didn't have tickets being happy to just catch a glimpse of the historic locomotive.
But such glimpses may soon be a rarity, as I hear that from now on the Flying Scotsman's timetables will be kept a secret because at a recent West Country appearance "trespassers" (presumably excited fans who couldn't get tickets) caused a significant hold-up. Hold-up? Hey, it could have been worse - at least there weren't highwaymen (or highwaywomen) involved. Try saying that as a tongue-twister.
The lanes of leafy Surrey, close to the West Sussex border, were great territory for highway, er, people. Walk or drive around Leith Hill and you'll find yourself on narrow, sunken lanes with dark tree canopies above and huge roots gripping the sandy banks - probably holding them together, in fact. Many a mailcoach was held up around here and many's the local legend of ghostly highwaymen, usually headless - and possibly legless after visiting the local pubs. Though with the Roman road Stane Street running nearby - the A29 follows it straight as an arrow through the pretty village of Ockley (watch cricket on the green) and on towards Pulborough - the ghostly sightings often seem to get muddled up with centurions and legionaries.
One of the prettiest pubs on Leith Hill must be the one by the hamlet of Friday Street, between Dorking and Guildford. Popular with day trippers and locals alike, it does get busy at weekends and driving in and out of there can be interesting, but it's a haven once you're there, especially for walkers and cyclists. Nestling amid the leafy Surrey Hills scenery, the pub overlooks a tranquil hammer pond - so-called for the iron industry they served - which I particularly love. Horsham, too, has several hammer ponds which are tantalisingly pretty to drive past, but sadly there's no public access to walk around them.
From our West Sussex holiday cottages you can easily visit the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Just try not to get held up.