Rebuilding the Legendary Lynton & Barnstaple Railway
Having an instantly recognisable identity, In the midst of outstanding countryside, characterful towns and delightful villages, with park and ride potential, there are many benefits that the revival of this historic railway could bring not only to this part of England but to the greater Exmoor area, the Westcountry and beyond.
Putting this railway back together was never going to be easy, which is why it has taken so long, for no other railway was dismantled in such a complete fashion with its trackbed sold off in lots making it almost impossible to put it all back together. However, supporters of the L&B have shown time and again that not only are they determined and single minded, but that they also don't give up or give in! It took several years of hard work and some difficult negotiations just to put back the short railway you see today, but having come this far, our intention is to continue with rebuilding the railway until once again it runs all the way from Lynton to Barnstaple.
Created in 2007 by the L&B Trust this is essentially a team assembled to manage the project to rebuild the railway. Currently comprised of L&B Trustees, Railway Company Directors and specialists in various fields, anyone with the necessary skills and time is co-opted as required.
Members of the Exmoor Enterprise team have addressed public meetings, met several landowners and other interested parties and done much to publicise the scheme to recreate the railway from Wistlandpound to Lynton.
Discussions were held with Exmoor National Park and North Devon planning authorities and we now have planning consent to reconstruct the railway from Killington Lane to Wistlandpound. Having achieved this objective, we are now seeking a Transport and Works Act Order to provide us with the powers to rebuild and operate the railway.
Click HERE to see maps and read more about our plans to extend
What appears to be impossible will happen - from the Tallylyn to the Welsh Highland Railway, others have already shown us that where there is a will, there is a way.
Interestingly, the revival of the long-thought-lost Lynton & Barnstaple has inspired a new generation to consider undertaking the revival of other lines thought to be impossible, including the Southwold and Ashover Railways and the Glyn Valley Tramway - we wish them all well.
"Perchance it is not dead but sleepeth"
On Monday 30 September 1935, the day after the railway closed, a wreath of bronze chrysanthemums was laid on the Barnstaple Town Station stop block. Sent by Paymaster Captain Thomas Alfred Woolf, R.N. (Retired.), of Woody Bay, it bore a black-edged, hand-written card on which was written:
“To Barnstaple & Lynton Railway, with regret and sorrow from a constant user and admirer. Perchance it is not dead but sleepeth".
An auction was arranged to sell off all the equipment and although locomotives could be bought for as small a sum as £34, little was actually sold. In late 1935 a dismantler was brought in to lift the track and dispose of what had not been sold at the auction. By the summer of 1936 all the track had been lifted.
Captain Woolf died on 12 May 1937, aged 55 and was buried near to Woody Bay Station in Martinhoe Churchyard.
Since reopening Woody Bay Station, an event is held on the last weekend in September each year to mark the closing of the railway when a wreath of bronze chrysanthemums is carried by one of the locos, and afterwards, laid on the Captain's grave in remembrance, and thanks for these inspirational words.
The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway Trust
With over 3000 members worldwide the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway Trust (Registered Educational Charity No.1082564 and also Registered Company Limited by Guarantee No. 4040633) owns the railway and remains determined to reinstate a railway that was once (and will one day become again) the jewel in the crown of North Devon.
The L&BR Trust is the majority shareholder of the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway CIC - the subsidiary company responsible for running the railway on a day-to-day basis.