Part of the railway's medium term plan, the line from Woody Bay to Lynton will provide a massive boost to the Lyn Valley.
The railway will be able to act as a means of park and ride from Woody Bay and Blackmoor, easing congestion in the existing car parking around the twin towns. The railway will also bring significant social and economic benefits to the local community.
When we extend the railway northeast from Woody Bay, we will need to replace two significant road crossings. The first is at Martinhoe Cross, immediately beyond the current rail head. When it happens, this is likely to be completed as a tunnelling contract.
The cutting beyond the A39 is partially filled, mostly with leaf mulch and vegetation. Woolhanger Lane bridge is still in use and the cutting under and beyond just need to be emptied of fill.
The trackbed to Caffyns is in good repair with just one bridge missing over a small lane to the riding stables.
Caffyns Halt originally just consisted of a single platform and waiting shelter. The old railway originally used it as a stop for the nearby Golf Links (now closed) - the modern day railway will be able to serve the nearby guesthouse and the very popular Camping and Caravaning Club site near to Caffyns Cross.
The trackbed beyond Caffyns originally went under the main road. Since closure, the trackbed has been sliced through by the new realigned road. The 2nd photo above shows how the trackbed has literally been cut through.
A new bridge will have to be built under the road so trains can carry on towards Lynton.
At Dean Lane, a large section of embankment needs replacing along with a small bridge over the lane. One abutment still remains, behind which is the Dean Cattle Creep.
From Dean to Barbrook the views are stunning, some of the best along the whole route of the former railway. This section is very strictly of private land, so we request as always that potential visitors do not try to trace any of this stretch of trackbed please!
From Barbrook to Lynton the line meanders along a high ledge through Kibsworthy Woods. The new railway when rebuilt, is likely to diverge off to the left of the old trackbed, just beyond Kibsworthy bridge (below). It will then run in parallel, remaining near to level with the old trackbed gradually descending towards the old station.
There is a clear run as far as the old station site. The new trackbed will be slightly higher, on the level to the left.
The old station at Lynton has seen some development at the Barnstaple end of the site. The building itself is little changed from when the trains ceased to call (owned by a member of the railway and used as a holiday let). The new railway will be just out of sight behind the old station and adjacent houses, running the the field above.
Although just out of sight of Lynton, the old station already gave a great first glance of the sea far below. When we get to the stage of reinstating the railway to Lynton, a new station will be developed on an alternative site, making it closer to the town and allowing better vehicular access.
These final views show the proposed new station site, much nearer to Lynton. The land itself is currently overgrown, but through the trees gives a clear view out across the town.
Lynton & Lynmouth make a fantastic destination for the railway. Visitors will be able to visit one of the many street cafes, or maybe the Town Hall or Lyn & Exmoor Museum. The towns are famed for their historic water powered cliff railway, which also allows access to the beach and harbour at Lynmouth. The twin towns, described as "England's Little Switzerland" have a wealth of shops, eateries, pubs and guesthouses. Far from a run down seaside town, Lynton & Lynmouth really are the place to go in North Devon - they even boast having the only cinema in North Devon and Exmoor with full Dolby Digital Surround Sound!
Local trade has the potential to benefit a huge amount from the reconstruction of the railway. Trains can take the strain out of parking, where spaces are currently few and far between in summer months. The railway's traffic will also have the effect of bringing more people to the area and extending the existing season.
Often overlooked is the many benefits for the locals too! The railway can provide a social place to go - look to other lines such as North Wales's Ffestiniog as an example... Evening party trains for those with a bit of energy, or how about travelling on an autumn Jazz Train to Woody Bay, or maybe a Fish & Chip special?
The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway is North Devon's own railway - with its potential fully realised, it will bring pleasure to many people far and wide!
After rebuilding the railway to both Wistlandpound to Lynton, we can then realize the potential to rebuild back towards Barnstaple...