I have been over it all my life…..hundreds of times….. and always loved the view sitting on the train and looking out across one of the most beautiful rural scenes in Sussex. The Balcolme Viaduct, a majestic Victorian railway bridge opened in 1841, has always thrilled me but I had never been into that wondrous countryside until last Sunday when the early October heatwave here in Sussex just cried out for a trip, only half an hour away from my home here in Lewes, to this magical place. So, at last, as you can see, now not only have been over it but I have under it too. Amazing.
If it wasn’t a feat of engineering then it would be worth having here as a work of art – this long line of arches dizzies the mind.
and looking up gives some idea of the gigantic nature of this 19th. Century masterpiece designed by the railway engineer, John Urpeth Rastrick and the architect, David Mocatta.
It has served Southern England well this solid brick construction because it has to take a lot of wear and tear….
… as well as look magnificent in the way that Victorian Enlgishmen preferred…..
…monumental, grand, awe-inspiring and a statement of Britain’s might and wealth….
…it has, for one hundred and seventy years, taken the London to Brighton trains up into the air for the most exciting moment of the journey…..
… and it must have been even more exhilarating in the days of steam engines.
On Sunday, on a perfect day, it was a truly memorable occasion. After seeing the view from up there for all those years, it was glorious to actually enter the view and see the phenomenal viaduct itself – set in the middle of the Sussex countryside.
Take a moment, like I did, to marvel at its design and its beauty. It is not surprising that it has been described as the most beautiful viaduct in Britain.
It was humbling to get close up to it……
…but equally exciting seeing it from the distance as I gradually walked away from it across farmers’ fields and off away into the Ouse Valley where it still manages to compliment the scenery……
without every becoming a blot on the landscape.