Dawn's Journal

By DawnP

Portsmouth Road

The London to Portsmouth Road (now the A3) is a vital link between the capital and its naval harbour, and around halfway along lies the Devil's Punchbowl, a natural bowl created by springs in the soft sandstone hills at Hindhead ... though there are more fanciful tales of conflict with the god Thor surrounding its creation!

The road was "upgraded" in the 18th century with the introduction of Turnpike Trusts, responsible for maintaining the road in return for being able to collect tolls. In the 1820's the road was rerouted around the edge of the punchbowl to create a gentler route up to the summit at Gibbet Hill to prevent heavy carriage pulling horses becoming exhausted, necessitating in the movement of 1000s of tons of earth by man and horse alone. So it remained until 2011, when this section of the road was replaced by the Hindhead Tunnel, another feat of civil engineering.

Looking at today's image, it's hard to image  the three lanes of often bumper to bumper traffic which used to travel this route, though I do remember sitting in the queues at the notorious Hindhead crossroads!

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