Social activities for people with sight loss, in the Brighton and Hove Area
Argus Charity of the year 2008
Visit to Spa
1st July 2017
A group of 21 of us had a fabulous day at the Spa Valley Railway on 1st July.
We enjoyed excellent weather despite the gloomy forecasts. The bus journey from Brighton to Tunbridge Wells takes about 2 hours, but you are passing through lovely Sussex and Kent countryside. The bus stops at Tunbridge Wells West, the main station on the Spa Valley Railway.
It was a "steam special" weekend, and there were huge model rail layouts (various gauges) in the engine shed. One of our volunteers took their 4 year old grandson along, and he was jumping with excitement looking at the model railways (and frankly I was no better!). We had a coffee in the buffet car at the station, and then set off for Eridge, the end of the line. It's about a 20 minute journey passing through High Rocks and Groombridge stations. Lots to see from the window including rock climbers tackling the chalk ridge between Groombridge and Eridge, and plenty of waving to be done.
Eridge Station was wonderful. In the field alongside the railway there were at least a dozen full size traction and road steam engines, most of which were in steam, plus several ride-on models of traction engines. There were also several vintage cars. The cider in the refreshment ten went down well with a couple of our members which probably explains why, when the steam organ started playing The Birdie Song, Ray started dancing. We spent a very enjoyable couple of hours (possibly excluding the dance interval), and then caught the train back to Groombridge where we stopped off to see displays of the static steam engines which were working a churn and a mill.
Finally, we set off again back to Tunbridge Wells and had a short while there before catching the bus home.
Many thanks to the staff at the Spa Valley railway who were so helpful throughout the day helping our members on and off the train (and helping us catch a couple of members who had strayed).
Report by Jonathan Dutton
Above - photos taken at the Spa Valley Railway