A series of new station maps were unveiled along the Guildford to Gatwick North Downs Railway Line last week. The new maps are part of a partnership project to show just how accessible the Surrey Hills is by train and how you can walk direct from the railway station onto the North Downs Way National Trail.
The new maps have been sited at Shalford, Chilworth, Gomshall, Dorking Deepdene and Betchworth railway stations. Each map pinpoints which local attractions are accessible by foot from the station as well as how to access walking routes along the North Downs Way National Trail. A series of ‘rail to trail’ signage also helps to direct the way.
The maps are the first project for the North Downs Community Rail Partnership, who help to bring the local community together with local authorities, rail operators, education, business and environmental representatives all working to improve the value of the line to the local community and visitors.
Councillor Mike Goodman, Chairman of the North Downs Community Rail Partnership comments, “This is great news for the North Downs Line, and we are very grateful to all partners for their support. The intention of the North Downs Community Rail Partnership is to bring our local communities together with transport providers to improve facilities and the environment at stations. The North Downs line runs through the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and provides the perfect way to access the countryside sustainably.”
Funding for the project was secured through a Natural England grant to the North Downs Way National Trail, along with additional support from the Association of Community Rail Partnerships, Great Western Railway and the Surrey Hills AONB.
Peter Morris, North Downs Way Trail Manager comments, “The North Downs Way is one of, if not the most accessible National Trail in England and Wales. Running through the spine of two AONBs the rail network connects large urban populations with the countryside for health and wellbeing and also helps support rural businesses. We’ve now made it easier for people to explore the countryside via the North Downs Way and rail network which is good news for everyone.”
David Daniels, Line Officer for the North Downs Community Rail Partnership comments, “This is a fantastic first project for the North Downs Community Rail Partnership and shows how working in partnership can deliver great results. This project has not only engaged local communities but also will be of huge benefit to visitors to the area”.