Exploring Surrey’s Past on the Lovelace Bridges Trail

Lovelace Bridges Project

Lovelace Bridges Project

Geocaching on the Lovelace Bridges trail…

 

On a beautifully sunny Autumn day last year we were tempted into the woods for a long walk with the promise of a single multi-cache at the end. The cache called The Lovelace Bridges Trail (GC3V4MA) has been set by Rover71 and since August 2012 has only had 11 finds, which is a shame as it’s such a lovely walk. We were hooked into taking this cache because of the history surrounding the Lovelace Bridges as I’d done a little bit of extra reading before setting out which I’ve condensed for you here.

William King (Lord Lovelace) was the great great grandson of Lord Chancellor Peter King and he was also related to the famous philosopher John Locke (no, not Locke from Lost although he was named after the great philosopher). Bound to a family of lawyers, and of course wealth, William King on the death of his father, at the young age of 28, made no hesitations in building up his own empire. Within two years he’d married the only legitimate daughter of the wealthy and hopeless romantic Lord Byron and had started putting their combined fortunes in his established roles as, 8th Lord King, Baron of Ockham and Justice of Peace for the county of Surrey, to good use.

His marriage to Ada not only brought wealth but also connections, and as we all know it’s not what you know but who you know sometimes…she introduced him to her cousin Lord Melbourne who was connected to Queen Victoria who later appointed him Viscount Ockham and 1st Earl of Lovelace. Why Lovelace? Well that was all to do with Ada’s connections to the families of Byron, Millbanke, Noel and Lovelace. Rightly Lord Lovelace was very proud of all of these connections and he often included his families escutcheons on the buildings he was working on.

His residence in East Horsley saw him put quite a stamp on the buildings in the area, but it wasn’t the only mark he left on the landscape. He went on to use his architectural talents to build bridges which helped in the extraction of timber from the surrounding forests and some of these wonderful bridges can still be admired today. They make up what is now referred to as ‘The Lovelace Bridges Trail’ and these remaining bridges are being carefully maintained by The Horsley Countryside Preservation Society providing visitors with the opportunity to continue appreciating the skills of this remarkably talented gentleman.

Lovelace Bridges Trail map

Lovelace Bridges Trail map

The multi-cache, ‘The Lovelace Bridges Trail‘, takes you around a large part of the Bridges trail, leading you over, round and through some of Lovelace’s wonderful bridges. As it’s a multi-cache answers are needed at each of the waypoints and they can usually be gleaned from the information boards by the bridges which also gives you the chance to read some interesting facts about each of them.

We were a little unlucky not to find the physical cache at the end of the walk, but after checking with the CO we’d had a miscalculation at ‘E’ and so we’d been hunting in the wrong area! Despite not finding the cache on the day it was still a cracking walk, especially as it was autumn and all the colourful golden and red leaves were strewn across the paths which made the brickwork on the bridges really stand out. We enjoyed the walk so much that after some helpful hints from the CO we’ve since been back to pick up the cache so it’s now a nice smiley face on our map.

It’s definitely one to tire the geokids out too as I reckon it took us around two and a half hours. I highly recommend wellies if you’re considering doing the walk as there are a few very muddy sections. To print off a map of the Lovelace Bridges trail and to find out more information head over to the Exploring Surrey’s Past website.

I hope you enjoy the trail as much as we did!

Happy caching!

3 thoughts on “Exploring Surrey’s Past on the Lovelace Bridges Trail

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