Walking between railway stations – a new national network


Steve Melia is a travel writer who never drives or flies. He’s teaming up with Slow Ways and needs your help to create a walking network between train stations

Would you like to help create a national network of walks between railway stations, as an additional layer on Slow Ways? If so, please sign up to our mailing list on www.railwalks.co.uk and come to our first meeting on March 9th – a workshop in person in Worcester – if you can.

I am a travel writer with a difference – I never drive or fly. 15 years ago I moved from a national park to a city centre, gave up the car, and then discovered how easy it was to walk all over Southwest England, and many other places, by public transport. Like most people, I thought you had to drive to reach deep, wild and remote countryside. Some of my walks use buses; most use trains. That gave me the idea for a national network.

I had been trying since 2021 to interest various parts of the rail industry in this idea, making slow progress, when someone put me in touch with Dan Raven-Ellison, the founder of Slow Ways. This idea, he told me, had also occurred to him. Many Slow Ways settlements already have a railway station at their centre. Walks between them already cover much of the country as shown on this map. Our aim is to build on that network, including more stations and more walks, both linear and circular. We may also identify ‘gold star stations’, which are particularly good for rural walking. We will be working with Slow Ways to create an additional layer on the final website specifically for rail walks.

In the meantime, we were surprised to discover 55 existing websites with rail walks, covering all parts of Britain. They weren’t all easy to find, so we have organised links to them all by region and nation, starting from this page. They are all in different formats; most of them don’t have gpx files, so we still need that new national network, but they clearly show the potential. If you, or anyone you know, are interested in walking by rail then take a look at those pages.

What sort of walks should we include? How should we go about it? We will be discussing those and other questions, with a hands-on workshop, on March 9th in Worcester. We hope to see some of you there. Follow this link from the Railwalks website to sign up.

See Steve Melia’s work at www.greentravelwriter.co.uk