Saturday, 27 July 2019


20th July 2019

A day out in the Surrey countryside, taking in the county's quietest railway station, a church used in a big hit film, and a pub lunch.

According to the Office of Road and Rail statistics for 2017-2018 Betchworth Station is now the least used in Surrey, taking over bottom spot from the once isolated Longcross.

There were  just 14,972 entries and exits, which if we assume is passengers making return journeys equates to about 20 people a day using the station. This could partly be explained by the fact that the station isn't in the village but a 20 minute walk away along a route that couldn't be described as pedestrian friendly - including having to cross the busy A25 Dorking to Reigate road. To reach either of those places, or even Guildford, most people are going to drive.

The station building is now in private hands and when I was there the interior was being redecorated. The ground floor now being converted to offices along with four car parking spaces, further reducing the likelihood of Betchworth gaining any commuters.

I hope the new occupants of the offices like trains - and the warning siren on the adjacent busy level crossing 😉

If you do take the walk to Betchworth you'll find a quintessentially English village scene which is probably a good reason it was chosen as a filming location for Four Weddings And A Funeral. St. Michael's Church was the location for Wedding No. 1, Angus and Laura, supposedly at ‘St John’s Church, Stoke Clandon, Somerset’.
At least it was a bit closer to the reception, which was filmed at a house in Hertfordshire 😀

 Of more immediate and practical importance you'll also find near the church the Dolphin pub.

Early on a Saturday lunchtime this provided a couple of pints of decent ale and a sausage sandwich of the type usually referred to as a "doorstep". Both were very welcome.

Rather than return directly to the station via the "main" road I took a more scenic and longer route leaving the village via a bridleway the other side of the church and through arable fields, once again having to cross the A25, and then climbing up to cross the railway and join the North Downs Way long distance footpath.

 Following this path East towards Station Road I saw this strange brick tower standing on its own amongst the trees.

Despite looking like a spare support for a viaduct it is in fact a 110 foot tall  lime kiln. Though the area north of the station looks a picture of rural tranquility now it was once the site of a substantial lime quarrying and processing works, with a connection to the railway just west of the station. It also 3 other railways within the site, all of different gauges. The only obvious clue now to the casual wanderer that there was such industrial activity here is that the road leading out to Station Rd north of Betchworth Station is called "The Quarry".

And so I arrived back at the station to catch one of the two-hourly stopping services back home.

A video you say? Yes, there's a video:

And it didn't even rain, even though it was forecast. Win!

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