“I have always enjoyed train travel and I have always enjoyed walking,” says David. “One way of combining the two was to recognise that there are a lot of books out there about walking, but not many for those that need to use public transport.
“There are buses, but sometimes buses can be unreliable, and many don’t operate services on a Sunday. I thought ‘Wouldn’t it be great to do a book of walks you can do simply using the railway stations?’ From that emerged the idea that it would be good to do a book using all the railway stations in Sussex.”
All 84 of them, that is.
The result is a volume which celebrates Sussex in all its huge variety: “There are some walks that are very easy, that you can do with the family after lunch in a pub, and there are some where you will need decent boots and maybe put the whole day aside.
“And then there are lots of walks that are in between.”
Some took David a day to research; other times he could fit two or three into one day as he put his best foot forward towards his target.
Some of the walks include parts of established routes such as the South Downs Way, but each is a walk of David’s devising. Add it all up, and it is impressively comprehensive. As David says, there is not a single major landmark missing from the volume.
“There is absolutely everything there. I have got the great religious buildings like Chichester Cathedral, Boxgrove Priory, Lancing College Chapel, and there are some great gardens including Borde Hill.
“And then there are some lovely villages like Amberley and Slindon right up to the villages at the top of the country. There is some spectacular Downland scenery and some lovely riverside scenery. There are beaches as well. You really have got the best of Sussex in the book. There are some amazing walks in here.”
Some of the walks are wholly urban, for instance Brighton, where David admits he could comfortably have devised days’ worth of walks.
Until Christmas a familiar figure in Chcihester and Worthing magistrates courts where he advised the magistrates, David now works as a consultant for a firm of solicitors in Worthing.
Not surprisingly, given his legal background, David has been extremely careful in the book to keep to public rights of way, permissive paths, designated access land and other land where common sense and popular usage indicates access will pose no difficulty.
“There should therefore be no risk of trespass. There is of course a difference between a short detour onto an uncultivated field for a better view and wandering into a private garden or driveway. If in doubt, seek express permission from the owners.”
David added he hoped the descriptions were clear enough not to require maps, but he would suggest taking the relevant OS maps for context.
Sussex Station Walks is published by SB Publications at £9.99, David’s 24th or 25th book in total and his ninth for SB Publications. Others for SB include: Walking the Coastline of Sussex; Walking the Disused Railways of Sussex & Surrey; Walking the Riversides of Sussex; Walking the Coastline of Kent; Walking the Sussex Border Path.
More details from S B Publications: www.sbpublications.co.uk.