Sunday, 11 August 2013

Following Dr Beeching’s Axe

In 1963 the political vandalism of the Beeching Report led to the abandonment of 4,500 miles of Britain’s rail track, the closure of 2,000 local stations and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs. It isolated thousands of communities and leaving them without a rail link to the ‘outside world’ for the first time in a hundred years.

Most of these lost lines disappeared from the landscape, gobbled up as urban & industrial sprawl or sucked up by farming conglomerates – but not all of them vanished. Some have added to our invaluable network of footpaths & bridleways.

Exploring Britain’s lost railways (The Times, October 2013) is a new book by Julian Holland that details some of these abandoned routes. It explores 50 of Britain’s lost rail routes that can now be travelled on foot or by cycle.
The book is illustrated with up-to-date & nostalgic photographs plus Ordinance Survey maps detailing how to find these lost routes.

It’s an enjoyable fireside read but for the more active there are routes to follow from Plymouth to Lossiemouth.