An author has released a new book documenting the old roads from London to Brighton including those which used to pass through Horsham.
The coach roads to Brighton has been written by author Geoff Hewlett and follows the routes from the capital to the coast taken by horse drawn carriages and coaches before the advent of modern day cars and motorways.
Not only does the book explore the old roads it is also full of stories from different pubs and inns including the old Kings Head Hotel in Horsham which was a stop off point on one of the routes.
The book starts in the mid eighteenth century and explains the changes in coach travel throughout the South until the introduction of the railway in the mid nineteenth century.
As well as going through Horsham the routes would also see coaches travel through towns and villages including Crawley, Steyning, Uckfield and Lewes.
In the early years Geoff explained the journey could take a few days to complete and he has found many stories from pubs and inns located in these different towns where commuters stayed on route to and from the capital.
The book also contains interesting anecdotes from travellers who were forced to walk parts of the journey due to difficult terrain and even some gruesome tales about how some passengers never made it to their final destinations.
Geoff is an avid walker and said it was whilst he was walking part of the route between London and Brighton he came up with the idea of
writing the book.
He said: “I thought it was such a different walk to do and I found whilst I was doing it I started to become interested in the old roads.
“I do a lot of walking. I love the South Downs and on these walks I found a lot of old roads which are now just tracks.
“I thought it might be quite fun to investigate these old Brighton Roads and see what I could find out.”
Geoff has walked every one of the routes he mentions in his book with some proving more tricky than others.
“You can walk the nice bits,” he said.
“But for anyone wishing to follow in my tracks and walk down the A24 I can tell you it is not as fun.”
However, he did recommend anyone interested in walking should explore some of the old tracks, most of which are still accessible to the public and can be followed through the maps and pictures printed in the book.
The book is now available to buy in shops including Waterstones and WH Smiths.
It can also be ordered online at www.amazon.co.uk/Coach-Roads-Brighton-Geoffrey-Hewlett/dp/1780037759
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