Some Things Never Change …

Old Roads.
(from The South Country by Edward Thomas 1909)

Up here in the rain it utters the pathos of the old roads behind, wiped out as if writ in water, or worn deep and then deserted and surviving only as tunnels under the hazels. I wish they could always be as accessible as churches are, and not handed over to landowners—like Sandisbury Lane near Petersfield—because straight new roads have taken their places for the purposes of tradesmen and carriage people, or boarded up like that discarded fragment, deep-sunken and overgrown, below Coleman’s Hatch in Surrey.
For centuries these roads seemed to hundreds so necessary and men set out upon them at dawn with hope and followed after joy and were fain of their whiteness at evening: few turned this way or that out of them except into others as well worn.

Readers might be interested to compare this portion of a late 19thC OS map showing ‘Sandsbury Lane’ with modern OS mapping. The 1:25,000 map still shows parts of Sandsbury lane as a ‘road’, but no public right of way is there recorded. Was Edward Thomas seeing ‘the future’ after 2025?


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