Rambling Away From ‘The Smoke’

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This book is now out of print and there are no plans for a second edition.  However, you may be able to get hold of copies through second-hand booksellers such as Amazon or eBay.

This is the fascinating story of a 20th century phenomenon: the great ramblers’ excursions that started in 1932, taking hundreds of Londoners out of ‘The Smoke’ every Sunday to walk in the lovely surrounding countryside.  This book charts their dramatic rise and fall and tells how the pre-war pioneers provided imaginative days out, sometimes with all-night walks, midnight fireworks or tea-dances, even a trip to France for a walk along the cliffs before a mad dash back to the ferry.

Then war intervened and things were never quite the same afterwards.  The spark had gone, but the excursions kept going.  Then, from the end of the 1960s, they were hit by a multitude of successive whammies and gradually fizzled out, coming to a complete halt at the end of 2004.

The story is brought to life with potted histories of some remarkable organisers and leaders and reminiscences from those who were closely involved, including organisers, leaders, ramblers – and the author!

The book mentions two appendices, which you can view or download by clicking below:

Appendix A lists basic details of all known excursions. BEWARE! It has some 180 pages so you are strongly advised not to print it out!

Appendix B lists basic details of the Commandos’ footpath clearances.

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