Sunday 20 July 2014

The Sogginess of Steyning : a Delightful Excursion

Bramber was the caput of a large feudal barony held from the 11th to 14th centuries by the Braose family which was noted for its impact on the medieval history of the southern Welsh Marches.

On a small hill stand the remains of Bramber Castle, a Norman castle built by the family. Bramber Parish Church of St Nicholas was originally built as the castle chapel and is the only part of the castle site not in ruins.

The church attracts large numbers of tourists, and is the oldest post-conquest Norman church in Sussex. Bramber Castle originally protected the Rape of Bramber, the historic sub-division of the county of Sussex.

Bramber and Upper Beeding ...
... are the two villages to the north of Shoreham-by-Sea; both standing on the River Adur. fbb's little bus ride on Brighton and Hove route 2 passes through these two delightful settlements before terminating at Steyning.
Apart from the bridge at Beeding four other distinctive river crossings are visible from the bus. The modern structure on the main coast road replaced a bowstring girder bridge in 1987.

 The girder offering dates from 1922 when it, in turn, replaced the picturesque Norfolk Bridge built in 1833.
It was the same design as the famous Chain Bridge (originally built 1849) that crosses the River Danube between Buda and Pest in Hungary.

William Tierney Clarke designed both.

Our Will was economical in his design work as a similar bridge was also built at Marlow, Bucks.
After just a glimpse of the modern bridge, we also espy the railway bridge ...
... the second such, this one dating from 1896.

Next "up", as the TV presenters say, is Old Shoreham Toll Bridge.
The construction of Old Shoreham Tollbridge was authorised by Act of Parliament under George III. The act established a body of trustees to construct "a proper and substantial Bridge, for the Passage of Carriages... over the said River, at or near the said Ferry". The new wooden bridge was ten months in the making and first opened to public traffic in March 1782. It linked Old Shoreham with Lancing. It was later rebuilt, but to the same design.

It became a bridleway when the A27 by-pass was opened in 1970.
The arched bridge in the distance is over Mill Hill cutting and carries a local road. Its construction caused much local interest at the time.
Once again, a simple bus ride produces much to interest the passenger. The fbbs managed to commandeer top deck front and on outward and return journey found much to amuse and entertain. Even Mrs fbb enjoyed the ride, despite the sogginess.

Yes, indeed, on a day forecast for "occasional light showers", the rain was verging on the torrential for most of their (curtailed) visit to Steyning.

We will conclude the trip in due course, possibly in a week's time.

Tomorrow we must look at fruit and pots.
It reminds fbb of ...

Shoreham Information P.S.
"Exasperated" added a heartfelt comment to yesterday's blog (read again).
When fbb writes a blog, he assembles a collection of pictures and screenshots, not all of which are eventually used. In the case of Shoreham Footbridge/High Street/Crown and Anchor, two additional information resources were investigated on a later date.
Brighton and Hove's on line display did not differentiate by direction and, using the unexplained convention offered a mix of real and timetabled times. This was at 1030. Later ...
... at 1045 a rogue bus at 1150* (no explanation of the asterisk) has appeared out of order. Meanwhile on the Traveline "Next Buses" display (expensive?) on fbb's mobile phone, this was on offer.
This was using the code from the B & H site and was for the stop opposite fbb's viewing spot. Again, the Stagecoach service was all to pot with 700s at 1101 and 1104 instead of 10 minutes apart.

Add this to the reported (yesterday again) Roger French concerns about inappropriate technology and you have to wonder whether there is a lack of standardisation, a lack of co-ordination, a lack of consideration for the end user; in essence a lack of application of the human brain to the whole technological panjandrum.
 Next bus blog : Monday 21st July 


  1. Until the Shoreham Bypass was built the Tollbridge carried the A27 and was extremely busy. This was not helped by their being a level crossing at the east end of the bridge for the line up to Christ's Hospital. Due to historical accident the tolls were collected by British Railways, with the tollman standing in the middle of the road with his Ultimate ticket machine catching traffic both ways at it went past..
    Southdown routes 9 and 10 crossed it on their way from Brighton to Littlehampton or Arundel. I recall one journey encountering the conductor standing on the platform with his eyes tight shut. He told me he had done the crossing four times a day for fifteen years but was scared stiff as the road was extremely narrow with only the wooden fence to stop the bus falling into the river.

  2. According to No 3 son, there are passing places built into the bridge structure. Maybe they were just refuges for terrified pedestrians? I doesn't look capable of taking the weight of a bus!

    1. I have been trying to find some online images as I know I have seen some in the past.

      Here are two, one with a bus and the other after preservation, showing one of the passing places.

      How the bridge stayed up at all was quite amazing, but it really did carry an enormous amount of traffic for many years.

  3. I recall Hants & Dorset using a similar toll bridge at Eling on the route from Southampton to Hythe, Fawley and Calshot. The toll bridge is still there but I don't think buses use it any more.

  4. I have just taken a look at the Velvet website and whilst it still doesn't give any information on the new ownership its timetable pages have been updated.

    Those still listed are the A, B4, M, S1, S2, and 502.

    Those no longer showing are the E8 (evening Eastleigh to Boyatt Wood), X4 (evening Eastleigh to West End and Hedge End), X7 (evening and Sunday Eastleigh to Chandlers Ford) and 503 (Barton Peverill College to Thornden School)

  5. Clive you are correct.

    I was told a few years ago that H&D did operate via the Eling Toll Bridge that is alongside the Eling Tide Mill - route 38?.

    I understand that passengers had to get off the bus and walk across due to weight restrictions.

    According to Wikipedia it is still in use.

    I have walked across.

  6. When I worked in the Hants & Dorset offices in 1973/4 it was in use but since then the area has been by-passed by new roads. Guess that was when bus services stopped using that route.

    Visited the spot about a year ago and saw a guy in the kiosk being paid to allow cars across. There are car parks at both ends - the one on the southern side (accessed from Marchwood direction) usually has spare spaces. The adjacent Eling Tide Mill is a tourist attraction.

  7. In those days I don't recall having to walk across.

    Incidentally on the Velvet saga it has been pointed out to me that there is a notice on the Xelabus website that they now operate services E8, X4, X7 and 503.