The Lynton and Barnstaple Railway
This scenic narrow-gauge railway opened throughout in 1898, mainly to facilitate tourist traffic. Purchased in 1923 by the Southern Railway, it only survived a further 12 years before closure in 1935. The line was entirely dismantled, though some of the station buildings were subsequently converted to dwellings.
A group of enthusiasts raised plans for the partial revival of the line in the late 1970's. After several 'false-starts', in 1995 planning approval and funding was obtained to purchase Woody Bay station, though it took until 2006 before trains were able to make the short run to a new temporary station at Killington Lane.
In recent years, much (successful) effort has gone into seeking planning and funding to extend the railway as far as Blackmore Gate and Wistlandpound reservoir. Work has now begun on clearing the trackbed and reinstating bridges. No doubt this part of the project will take many years, but the long-term 'dream' remains as the re-opening of the line all the way to Barnstaple (at least as far as Pilton).
The northern terminus at Lynton is situated high above the town, out of sight. In its heyday, passengers and goods were usually conveyed to and fro by horse and cart. This inconvenient location no doubt contributed to the line's closure. However, in their long-term plans, restorers are considering the possibility of siting a new station, beyond the original, further down the hill, closer to the centre.
Lynton railway station:
This well-preserved building has been converted as a dwelling.
Leaving Lynton, the line followed the West Lynn valley as far as the hamlet of Barbrook before turning sharply west above the Barbrook valley.
A small halt was built here to service what was once a golf club.
The railway now continued across open moorland towards Martinhoe Cross, where a newly aligned A39 now cuts the original rail track. (Originally, the road bridged the line here and a new bridge will be necessary to complete the route).
We now reach the only (current) operational section of the line at Woody Bay.
Woody Bay Loco Shed:
Woody Bay Railway Station:
From here the line runs west for 0ne and a half miles towards Killington Halt, affording fine views towards the coast.
A temporary terminus was constructed here to provide 'run-round' facilities for locomotives. However, the station is in an isolated, uninteresting location and will be bypassed and closed, following the route extension to Blackmoor Gate.
The old trackbed now continues south towards Parracombe.
A bungalow was built over the trackbed here. It is hoped that this can been purchased and demolished to make way for the new track and station.
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