Arriving at Minehead

Some of the Railway Group members at Bishops Lydiard Station

18 members of the Railway Group enjoyed time together in Somerset and North Devon in June travelling on heritage railways. The first day saw us riding the entire West Somerset line in both directions. This meanders through the attractive scenery of the Quantock Hills before bordering the coast of the Bristol Channel at Watchet and Blue Anchor on its way to Minehead. We were fortunate that the motive power was provided by a GWR Manor Class engine on the ”down” journey and a modified Hall for the “up”. Both ideal locomotives for such Branch line working.

Day 2 saw us enjoying the stunning scenery of Exmoor on our way firstly to Lynmouth; where we travelled up and down the famous funicular railway; before moving on to Woody Bay Station for an unforgettable ride on the section of the restored Lynton & Barnstaple narrow gauge railway. The little tank engine which rattled along at the front of our ancient carriages was built in France in 1915 to pull munitions trains to the Western front during WW1. The contrast between the horrors of the battlefield and the serenity of Exmoor hills and valleys could hardly be greater! In addition to good food and friendly company, other highlights of our trip included coffee at Periwinkle Cottage on Selworthy Green and the view from the South doorway of Selworthy Church. Can any church in the whole of the UK match such a view? Some of the more active group members were also able to enjoy a walk along the romantic Doone Valley on their way home. A destination for another few days away together next year is being considered.

Dale Greenwood