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Thursday, 17 April 2014

lost railway

With the arrival of dry and sunny weather it is time to start discovering countryside close to our new home.
Early Sunday morning, and we set of to hills above Shepton Mallet, to look for old railway tunnels.

It is more then 50 years since the famous Beeching Report, which recommended axing a third of British railways. During the following years thousands miles of track and thousands of stations were closed. This was supposed to be replaced by improved bus service (which never happened) and roads and cars.
Shortsighted to say the least, as now, with overcrowded roads, we wish we had more railways.
You can read more here.

Somerset and Dorset Railway, which used to connect Bournemouth and Bath, was one victim of the report and the remains of which we set out to find. DH remembers travelling on this line as a boy.

We left our house and walked down to the main road, then climbed a long hill on the opposite side.
Eventually we found a narrow, rocky track, still muddy in places.

Then a right turn and there it was - the old tunnel, we found it.

It was a dark walk through, and yes, we forgot to bring a torch.
Walking very gingerly across the rubble 

we reached the other end of the tunnel.

We continued along the old track, which runs through Windsor Hill Wood,

as far as the Viaduct. 
Overgrown, this magnificent structure is still as solid as when the steam trains used to thunder over it. 

The nature will not be stopped, on the banks a carpet of wild garlic, white wood anemone and first blue of the bluebells.

We turned back and walk through a second tunnel, parallel to the first one, but shorter, with steep rocky banks to the side.

But there is a hope yet.
The New Somerset and Dorset Railway is in the making. Volunteers of the Somerset and Dorset Railway Heritage Trust are raising private money, with the aim to restore as much of the original line as possible.
This is their blog

And then there is Nancy Camels' Hole. Nancy was reputed to be a witch, living in a cave in Ham Woods.
But that will be another walk..........



  1. What a wonderful walk of discovery and such beautiful countryside. I love train travel and much prefer it to flying these days so I hope they are successful with the restoration of part of the line. Take care.

  2. Moc pěkná virtuální procházka:-)

  3. The old railway routes make such interesting walks, yours looked to be such a lovely place to enjoy.

    I guess a lot of us are nostalgic about our train journeys in childhood. How we could do with the system again now.

    Looking forward to your excursions in your new area this coming summer.

    Happy Easter weekend.

  4. Hello Radka, this is a beautiful blog. How else?!?! From you! I love your photos.I saw and tried bike roads on old railway tracks in France in the Vosges along the river Moselotte.

  5. How good it is to sit at home whilst enjoying a stroll with you through the beautiful countryside, very brave going through the tunnel without and form of light. I have white bells open but not the blue ones yet and last night we had a frost, some of the tulips looks very sorry for themselves but think they will rally. Not know blue bells flower so early before, fingers crossed they survive the cold nights.

  6. Wish we had these sorts of interesting places to walk around here. Love reading about them and seeing your gorgeous photos too.


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