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. The 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, sometimes with two special trains carrying a thousand or more more eager ramblers. 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.
This book brings the story to life with potted histories of some remarkable organisers and leaders, as well as reminiscences from those who were closely involved, including organisers, leaders and ramblers. It also includes a history of the ‘Commando Footpath Clearances’ – an off-shoot of the excursions.
The book mentions two appendices, which can still be downloaded here:
Appendix A (version 8) lists basic details of all known excursions. Beware – it has nearly 200 pages so you are strongly advised not to print it out!
Appendix B (2 pages) lists basic details of the Commando Footpath Clearances.
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