Reigate consists of a main street of well-built houses, crossed at the eastern end by the Old Brighton Road, which, for upwards of a mile out of town, is adorned by the detached residences of the gentry.
This line connects the county towns of Berkshire and Surrey (Reading and Guildford), and extends from the latter across the garden of Surrey to Reigate; at the same time communicating with four trunk lines – the Great Western, the South Western, the Brighton, and the South Eastern Railway.
To the pleasure tourist we scarcely know any presenting so many picturesque attractions. Its route lies from Reading along the South Eastern line, across Berkshire, by Wokingham and Sandhurst, entering Surrey by Tinley; then crossing the South Western line, onward with a branch to Farnham; at the base of Hog’s Back to Guildford; next by a branch to Godalming, and continuing at the foot of the celebrated range of chalk hills past Dorking and Reigate to Red Hill.
We have alluded to the picturesqueness of the Surrey portion, which will be new ground to many a tourist; though it is perhaps, the most beautiful scenery of its class in England. Its landscapes present a rich succession of “morceaux” for the painter in its picturesque uplands, woodland, dells verdant vallies, rocky hills and undulating parks and heaths, all lying within the eye of the traveller along this line. Betchworth Park is among the most beautiful specimens of this scenery between Reigate and Dorking, although the part of the chalk hills seen from that point is greatly exceeded by the bolder sublimity of Box Hill, the venerable giant of the chain, with its luxuriant clothing of patronymic evergreen.
As a pleasure line, this portion is very popular, passing as it does through an exceedingly fine country, with the scenery of which excursion trains have already made thousands of visitors familiar.
Within a short distance, situated most beautifully in a romantic park washed by the “Sullen Mole,” are the ruins of Betchworth Castle.
Proceeding on our way, with the lofty down on our right, we pass over the Mole by a viaduct 50 feet high, and then through Box Tunnel to the station at
Tourists alight at this station for the hill with its celebrated prospects. It took its name from the Box trees planted thereon in the reign of Charles I. and is now a resort for picnic parties.
Dorking is situated in a valley near the river Mole, nearly surrounded with hills, and commands some of the finest views in the kingdom.
The line, still skirting the Downs, soon brings us to the station of
Sheire was the residence of Bray, the antiquarian, who edited Evelyn’s Memoirs. In the immediate vicinity is Abinger Hall (2 miles), the seat of Lord Abinger. Netley Place (1½ mile). Albury Park (1½ mile). Near which is Newland’s Corner, from which …
On an eminence in the vicinity, and towards the south, is St. Martha’s ancient chapel. Chilworth Manor is the property of Godwin Austin, Esq.
About two miles further is
Half a mile from the station is the village, near which is Shalford House, the demesne of Sir Henry Austin. This is the nearest station to Farley Heath, the scene, of the Volunteer Review of Easter Monday, 1864.
The situation of this town on the banks of the Wey, and spreading over the steep hill as it rises from the side of the river, is particularly picturesque.
A telegraph station.
The line then proceeds through the valley of the Blackwater to
A mile further is Sandhurst Royal Military College, situated to the right of the line, in the centre of a fine park. Peculiar interest attaches to this establishment, from the fact of its being the school where some of our ablest military men have acquired that rudimentary education which they have afterwards, turned to such good practical account in the field.
The railway then takes almost a direct line for several miles to
Wokingham is situated on the River Wey, on the borders of Windsor Forest. The town consists of three streets, with a handsome new Town Hall and Market Place in the centre.
From this station the railway passes that of Earley and over a level but highly cultivated country, interspersed with villages and country-seats, until it reach the terminus at
Reading is situated on two small eminences, whose gentle declivities fall into a pleasant vale, through which the branches of the Kennet flow till they unite with the Thames at the extremity of the town.
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