Now that the country is opening up again, I thought that I would go on a trip to Fordhampton, just a forty-five-minute train journey from Gaugemaster HQ here in Sussex. I boarded a Southern Class 377 Electrostar which took me north into the South Downs. Why drive when you can take the train?
The train arrived at Fordhampton Station (luckily) on time. The station was built in 1863 by the London Brighton and South Coast Railway on a branch off the London-Brighton line and still retains the architectural charm of this period. The station and platforms are served by an original Signal Box and a cast-iron Footbridge.
On leaving the station, over the road is the Church with its distinctive double nave. It was built in the 13th Century and has been serving the parish ever since. The annual fete is a focal point for the community and events are held there throughout the year, many in conjunction with the Infant School down the road. The architecture of Fordhampton is mixed, with houses built during different eras.
Heading down the High Street I passed several stores, including a Furniture Store and a Car Dealership, with no visit complete without the Model Shop (which stocks Gaugemaster products of course!). A small local Supermarket rounds off the retail options, serving Fordhampton and the surrounding villages. Residents may have to travel further afield for a more diverse shopping experience, but the essentials are on hand.
I walked out to the edge of town, where new houses were under construction. Heading up the hill I passed, tucked next door to a Farmhouse, a Nursery. There are many of these around Fordhampton, especially alongside the railway line. Through the trees is a Campsite, popular with hikers who walk along the South Downs. The air up here is lovely, despite the nearby Cement Works.
Walking back down the hill, I then visited the Dockside. Not many goods come through here now, but in the 19th Century this was bustling port, the legacy of which are the tall Dockside Warehouses (now converted into flats) and the Dockside Crane which is maintained by the local historical society. After all that walking I needed a quick stop at the retro looking Café by the quayside. As I was ‘working’, I couldn’t go to the Pub!
It was nearly time to head back to Gaugemaster, but as I was far from the station, I went to the nearest Bus Stop and caught one of the local buses back into the town centre. I just had time before my train to take a look at the Fordhampton Locomotive Depot. There is an older Goods Shed in the yard, and Carriage Platforms allow the workers to access the rolling stock.
I headed to my platform just as a plane flew over, having just taken off from Fordhampton Airfield. Up on the hillside above the church is a Wind Turbine, contrasting Fordhampton’s oldest structure with its newest.
This brief visit took me an afternoon, but if you want to visit Fordhampton yourself you will find lots more to see.
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