‘You can walk virtually everywhere in England by using the train’: the man connecting rail-based walks

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A new website aims to offer a wide network of walking routes from British train stations, and is calling on hikers to add their favourites. Our writer accompanies the founder on a ramble to Bath Spa station

A British railway station can be many things. A place of tended flowers and toytown paintwork. A concourse of shuttered ticket booths and overpriced pasties. A terminus, a meeting spot, a gateway to escape. It can be heart-lifting or drab, bathed in birdsong or heaving with commuters. It can also be the starting point for a properly good walk.

National Rail serves 2,593 stations, their locations scattered across the map like cartographic confetti. Many of them sit directly on longstanding hiking trails or within a short distance of paths worth exploring. In a large number of cases, it’s possible to walk between two stations following rights of way, rendering a car or taxi redundant.

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