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Chelfham Update: Autumn 2013

There has been lots of activity to report at Chelfham this autumn. Several members of the Heywood Society visited while on an organised L&B weekend, plus many others including local people have came to view the progress recently.  

Remember also, that the L&BR's second original station at Chelfham is open for all visitors every Sunday from 10am this winter.

1. On Sunday 13th October Heywood Society members arrive, first viewing the viaduct from the trackbed level.

2. Nigel Thompson gives a talk to the large group about the history, the restoration plans and progress.

3. All the display boards were out as the Heywood members wander about the site.

4. Inside, Dave Evans was tidying up and repainting around the window frames...

5. ...before later working on repairs to the original wooden ceiling in the waiting room.

6. Dave has also removed flaking paintwork and plaster from the walls.

7. The former booking office (ex-kitchen) after stripping out of the sink and cupboards. This room will be replastered and fitted out with basic mess room facilities for the volunteers.

8. John O'Dell working inside removing old cement rendering from the original station building's stone work. John will be re-pointing around the stonework as part of preparing this part of the building for when eventually the over-the-platform extension is removed.

9. Martin Williams restoring some signalling items by the sheds at Chelfham. Behind, the original signal cabin awaits its turn in the restoration plans.

10. John Mack Smith came down to cast the next CHELFHAM sign for the up side running in board.

11. With the concrete casting still wet the letters were placed onto the sign and left to dry for a week.

12. Next job for John was to repair the broken Lynton end post for this running board sign. Shuttering was made for a concrete pour onto the extended steel rein forcing rods.

13. The casting was completed and the post was ready for its installation.

14. John wheels out the heavy post with the platform trucks whilst Martyn & Olly Budd observe the historic events.

15. Next came out the sign, carefully carried by John, Dave and Nigel.

16. After several attempts and adjustments the post was in place and the sign safely held in place, as Nigel, Dave and John fix the top rail to the sign.

17. John checks the levelness of the sign after the difficult installation on 20 October.

18. At Chelfham the cleared trackbed makes a nice walk. Andy Leckenby came along to help out with some tidying of new growth near the trackbed and woodland walk paths.

19. This tree fell across the trackbed last winter and still needs to be cut up for logs etc. Nigel poses alongside on 20 November.

20. The colourful autumn leaves are still on the trees above the trackbed north of Valley Cottage, Chelfham.

21. Looking down onto the station and viaduct from the top woodland walk path.

Restoration is also proceeding at Snapper Halt. Click on the images below to see the latest progress report:

Two similar views, but how many years apart? click on the images to find out!

Thanks to all the volunteers who have helped the L&BR and Exmoor Associates at both Chelfham and Snapper this autumn. There is still a large amount of work to be done to maintain, preserve and restore these sites as part of the eventual expanding Lynton & Barnstaple Railway.

Words and pictures by Nigel Thompson

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