There are no people waiting on the platform or trains on the line but its been reclaimed for cycling and rambling thanks to a charity called Sustrans and volunteers. There is a meadowbank of wild flowers, planters with red and black currents and an
orchard with burgeoning apples, pears and plums which will be ripe for community picking in the Autumn. The old station building will become a cafe, the unsightly metal cladding a huge glass window to give on to the view. It's a gentle landscape and
from it you can wander through the remains of old smallholdings and their duckponds hidden amongst the meandering paths of Highfield Country Park, where noises in the thicket are woodpigeons crashing about, or conkers dropping too soon from the chestnut tree
I find I am one of life's givers, having been stopped for a chat about upcoming plans by one of the charity's representatives, who was waiting to raise interest on the grass bank of the old station platform. Many cyclists whizz
busily by but I stop at his greeting (it would be rude not to, since I'm just pushing my bike up the incline instead of riding it) listen to the description of what they do, and, my own community spirit uplifted, having just enjoyed roaming through it all,
I sign up for a monthly donation. I asked how long he had been there raising the charity's profile, which turned out to be all afternoon. I asked if he had got many other people to sign up. None at all, it turned out, except for me.
I recall my daughter telling me that I am the biggest soft touch in the world and, not for the first time, wonder if she's right. Still, it's all in a good cause and I'll be grateful to enjoy the fruits of its success. Besides, he did fix
my bicycle's failing brakes, so one good turn deserves another.