East Surrey Walkers (ESW) News & Article
Our programme of walks for July to September is now available. At time of writing we are obliged to maintain a booking system. Please do join us for an amble or more strenuous walk. Full details of our walks and how to book can be found on our web site.
I write this article with apologies to members of The Ramblers and many Godstone residents who are likely to be aware of the subject though perhaps not immediately? If I mention Edmund Seyfang Taylor the name may not be familiar to many. However the name Walker Miles may strike a note.
Edmund was an early pioneer of rambling and was a founder member of a group which ultimately became “The Ramblers” the National umbrella organisation for walking groups.
He was born in 1853 Edmund was the proprietor of printing and publishing company. For most of his life he lived in Camberwell. He formed the Croydon Rambling Club and maintained associations with other rambling groups and preservation societies.
In 1905 with representatives of other London based clubs Edmund formed the Federation of Rambling Clubs. This format was followed by clubs throughout the country all gradually amalgamated and in 1935 they became a national association today known as The Ramblers.
Not only was Edmund a committed walker he was also a prolific writer of guide books for walkers producing numerous volumes. His works are noted for attention to detail incorporating regular updates and amendments. He was also the editor and publisher of a number of other walking related publications. The works were printed and published by his company.
In 1908 Edmund moved from London to Willow House in Godstone. Sadly he died later in the year at the age of only 54 years. Edmund was mourned by many thousands who noted his contribution to walking and the preservation of rights of way. He is buried in St. Nicholas Church yard, Godstone. His grave is marked with the very distinctive Sarsen stone this was donated by the rambling clubs of London. At Leith Hill he is commemorated by a view pointer one of the markers points to Godstone.
What of the sobriquet Walker Miles? This was bestowed on Edmund by a number of his walking colleagues and admirers.
I couldn’t find any direct information concerning his attitude and general use of the name but I note that several of his walking guides were published as “by Walker Miles”. This indicates that he was comfortable with the pseudonym.
ESW wish you happy walking,
(ESW Publicity Officer)