Then we were off to Crawley, where we were due to start at 0850. The bus station still had that early morning look, with a red tinge to the early sunshine and a hint of autumn. Various Metrobus vehicles stood around waiting for turns, including some of the new Scania OmniCitys, and some of the earlier Darts. There was a small gathering of enthusiasts at the bus station, who looked quite relieved to see us.
We waited for time, then rolled out of the bus station and wound our way round to The George, traditional starting place for the 852. We could not turn round in the market-place, as most of its width has been pedestrianised, but we stopped as close as we could for the cold morning photographs.
I had not looked properly at the Country route map, (probably my copies did not have the 852 on them anyway), so had not appreciated quite how windy the 852 route was as it linked Crawley and Horsham. We wound out of Crawley into suburban Ifield. From there it was out into the country along the lanes to Lambs Green, then south to pass Faygate station. A sprint down the dual carriageway took us towards Horsham, and we turned off near the end onto the old road towards Roffey Corner. Then it was in through suburban Horsham to our timed stop at Horsham Station.
But the 852 used to serve the town centre at Carfax, so we slipped round the corner and drew up on the stone setts below the trees.
In the early days of the 852 it ventured beyond Horsham to Ewhurst, the farthest south-west of London Transport's routes. So that's where we went next, escaping from Horsham by the main road to Broadbridge Heath, then turning off the Dorking main road onto the country road to Rowhook. Now it was distinctly more rural, with trees forming a green tunnel along which we roared. Every now and then we spotted a photographer and his motorbike as we made our way northwards. Not much by way of villages on the way, although there was a large brockworks at a clay pit. Eventually we passed the Ewhurst village sign, and after a mile and a half of straggling second-home land we reached the terminus at the north end of the village.
With the little Guy parked at the green at the top of the village it was time to change over the blinds for the 449 trip in to Dorking.
The 449 trip was quite uneventful. I suppose by this time I was a little sleepy too, and in need of another breakfast. But I enjoyed the rural ride across the outliers of Leith Hill and down past Forest Green to Ockley. We eased our way on to Capel, nipping across the dual carriageway of the A24 from one country lane to another like a wary vixen. From Capel onwards it became less rural and more mixed, up the old road to Beare Green, across the main road again to South Holmwood Station. We had a very short blast northwards along the dual carriageway to a right turn into the woods. This was the quiet lane to Four Wents Pond, where we turned north to thread our way north over Holmwood Common and across Chart Downs, to come down to the sudden bustle of Dorking Pippbrook, where the day's events were centred.
GS76 was parked down at the bottom of the bus-park, to receive some attention to an unreliable starter-motor, and I made my up the the bus-park to find something to eat.
All photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture.
Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part 2: Breakfast time at Dorking.