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West Midlands Group visits North Devon 1st June

Nine L&B members plus one or two guests set out from the Midlands for North Devon in a mini-bus kindly loaned to us by Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club.  Despite a potentially disastrous start in which the van key got lost and two of the party were locked inside Molineux Stadium - home ground of Wolverhampton Wanderers - by a security guard. We eventually set out for Woody Bay, arriving there in time for lunch. One aim of the trip was to try to visit as many of the station sites as we could. This is how we got on:

1. We arrived at Woody Bay at lunchtime, just in time to see ISAAC arrive with the last train of the morning.

2. After an excellent lunch in the station buffet, we all boarded the train for a ride to Killington Lane.  Here we assembled for a team photo with Trust and Company Chairman Peter Miles who was driving ISAAC.

3. Back to Woody Bay, where Dave Took kindly showed us around the stock shed, with CHARLES WYTOCK and AXE in residence.

4. Time for another group photo around the Woody Bay nameboard, before setting off to find the other stations.

5. Left turn out of the station and along past Caffyns to Lynton to look at the old station building ...

6. ... and the goods shed.

7. Then back past Caffyns and Woody Bay to visit Blackmoor Gate station in the guise of the Old Station Inn. Here we decided that the historic importance of the building merited a more lengthy and detailed examination from the interior of the bar.  An hour later, we emerged into the sunshine well satisfied with the fruits of our research.

8. By now the afternoon was well advanced, so we decided to give Bratton Fleming a miss and head for Chelfham. A slightly startled Nigel Thompson coped well with our unheralded arrival and gave us a full tour of the station, including the new precast nameboard.

9. On from Chelfham to Snapper Halt, where a few of the more adventurous members explored the site.

10. We made a brief visit to Pilton Yard before arriving at Barnstaple Town station to see where it all began.

11. Finally – filled with a very tired but satisfied group of people - the Wolves mini-bus prepares to pull away from Barnstaple Town station for the  Midlands and home.

With thanks to Dave Took and Nigel Thompson for showing us around.

Photos and text Mike Whiteaker

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