I'm so sorry about the length of time this blog post has taken in posting. I've just been given a promotion of sorts, and my nose has been firmly glued to the grindstone! But it's all good!
Anyway as you probably already gathered from the Tyneham post, Chas had a gig in Devon the other Sunday, so we decided to make a micro holiday of it by traveling down on the Saturday and staying two nights. Rather than travel on all those horrible motorways we used a road map from the 1930s, and tried our best to follow the roads as much as possible.
It was all going swimmingly as we trekked along the A3, jaunting south into our old homeland of Surrey. NERD ALERT.... The Kingston bypass stretch of the A3 is one of the first arterial roads in Britain, after initial improvement plans in 1912 being shelved, work finally started in 1924 and it was opened by the Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, on 28 October 1927. Running for 8.5 miles from the Robin Hood Gate of Richmond Park to the outskirts of Esher. As a Surrey bird and travel nerd I think the A3 is my favourite road, especially as the construction of the Kingston and Guildford bypasses in the '20s and '30s made use of temporary narrow gauge railways to move the construction materials (I love driving down those stretches and imagining little choo choos trundling along!)
|Kingston Bypass in the '30s... I love the fact there are people nonchulantly walking on the carriageway!|
|The Kingston bypass now|
Just outside Guildford the A3 smoothly merges onto the A31 at the Hogs back, thus named as... apparently... it resembles the back of a hog?! This area is featured in Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" where he describes the Surrey Hills in detail (he was a fellow Surreyite!)
|The Surrey Hills at The Hogs Back|
We continued south through Surrey, past Farnham and the wonderful Shepherd and Flock roundabout, where I had my first alcoholic tipple (underage I may add!) This place has always fascinated me as it's a pub in the centre of a road, thus forming a roundabout. But there are also a few houses on the roundabout too... so it's like a little village!
|The Shepherd and Flock from above|
From Farnham we trekked into Hampshire through Alton and past Chawton where Jane Austen lived...
And further south to Winchester and then... BANG! The A31 vanished, and all that was available was the M3. So... shh, we drove along that and the M27, re-linking onto the A31 not too far from Southampton. The A31 winds through the New Forest, and merges onto the A35 a little north of Dorchester which then winds it's way into Devon, through Lyme Regis. Finally we linked onto the A30 near Exeter (a little bit of the M5... but we'll ignore that!) then finally linked onto the southbound A380 to Teignmouth.
If ever you need to go on a trip and have the option of using A roads I'd strongly suggest it. You get to see so much more countryside, historic places and generally trundle along at a more leisurely pace. I wouldn't suggest referring to a '30s road map though... as it's a tad disconcerting discovering your route has vanished beneath 6 carriages of tarmac and fast cars!
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