London to Salisbury

On The Road Travel Essays

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London to Salisbury

(COURIER: This is your hardest part for road commentary. Talk about London on the way out of the city, using appropriate sections from "British Roads, Then and Now," or, at other times, "How the British Say It.")

Sandhurst (The signs may read "Wokingham".)  Off to our right is Sandhurst, site of Britain's "West Point," the Royal Military Academy.

Andover (Start looking for signs to A343, a smaller road that takes you to Salisbury.)  Andover is an old agricultural town — once famous for wool, fruit and vegetable canning, and the making of parchment. Around the town are R.A.F. and army base camps. Jets from these air bases fly all over the Salisbury Plain (this broad, flat land we're on), and you might hear them while at Stonehenge (odd sensation!). On leaving Andover, on your left, is Bury Hill, a large old Roman campsite. After Andover, point out road signs for an interesting series of towns: Over Wallop, Middle Wallop, Nether Wallop. In the U.S., people are used to "North Brookfield, South Brookfield, East...West" etc. In Britain, the references are more concrete: "over" rather than "north," i.e., "over that hill," or "nether" (lower). "Wallop" comes from Wallop Brook, which flows through the area. Wallop itself comes from (Anglo-Saxon) "Wiell-Hop" — Valley of the Stream. (At this point, start your introduction to Salisbury.)

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