Around the early-1950’s I was given a book as a Christmas present. It was called ‘The Railway Album’ by E.S.Wolff. Near the back of the book is a photo of Taw with a train approaching Lynton. Other than some text to say that this was the Lynton-Barnstaple line there was nothing more about it in the book. I still have the book some 70 years later and this picture still rates in my mind as one of the most charming pictures of the L & B. Years later I was to find out that this picture was posed, and the train was stationary having propelled up the grade out of Lynton for a media photo shoot just as the line was about to close. The book by J.D.C.A.Prideaux has two photos taken at that event, one by R.L.Knight which is almost identical to the picture in my old book and another credited to The Times.
In 1959 our parents took us on holiday to Appledore. We passed by Barnstaple Town Station and over Braunton Bridge several times on our way to Ilfracombe and Saunton Sands, but I never had the chance to explore the remains of the old railway. It wasn’t until 1983 that I eventually had the chance to explore the L & B cycling with my two older children.
It has been said that the loss of the Lynton and Barnstaple was the catalyst for the preservation of the Talyllyn and Festiniog Railways. If that is true, then that implies the closure was the catalyst for the growth of the entire railway preservation movement.
Today the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway is re-awakening. It is being restored by the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway Trust to as near as possible original condition. In about five years’ time it will be open between Woody Bay Station and Wistlandpound Reservoir. In the years that follow there is little doubt that the line will once again be running between Barnstaple and Lynton and will become one of our premier preserved railways.
Please give the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway Trust your support in rebuilding this historic railway.
Life member of the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway Trust.