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Steam trains through rolling countryside, with views out to wild moorland and the rugged coastline.
Originally opened in 1898, and closed in 1935; what you can see today at Woody Bay is just the beginning of an exciting project to rebuild one of the world's most famous and picturesque narrow gauge railways; the legendary Lynton & Barnstaple Railway.
This initial section allows our visitors to experience a taste of what will one day become one of the ultimate narrow gauge treasures of the world as they once again travel by train along the original route above the delightful Heddon Valley near Parracombe in Exmoor's National Park on the longest closed section of railway line to have ever been reopened solely through volunteer effort.
The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway is a "non-profit" organisation offering narrow gauge train rides at Woody Bay in Exmoor National Park, with one aim: to fully restore the legendary Lynton & Barnstaple Railway.
But the L&B is much more than a visitor attraction, we are an educational charity with a living classroom promoting an understanding of the transport systems of the past and their affect on the rural community living on the remotest and wildest parts of Exmoor - all some 20 miles from the next town.
Your journey will be in reconstructed carriages with parts dating from 1897 and if Lyn is in steam, a rebuild of the L&B's own Baldwin loco.
History of the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway
Exmoor has always been a wild and remote area and horse drawn travel was the only way visitors could reach North Devon's attractive coastal towns and villages in the 1890’s. With the coming of the railways and British tourism booming, rails eventually reached Minehead and Ilfracombe, but the heart of Exmoor had much more difficult terrain to overcome, and a railway to Lynton seemed an impossibility
George Newnes, Lynton's wealthy benefactor thought otherwise, and following in the footsteps of the Ffestiniog Railway in North Wales, construction of the Lynton and Barnstaple railway - to the narrow gauge of 1' 11½" - was begun in 1895.
The railway was designed to follow the contours of the land via many embankments and bridges; chief of these was Chelfham Viaduct, standing some 70' above the Stoke Rivers Valley near Loxhore.
The Railway was originally equipped with three 2-6-2 tank engines named Yeo, Exe and Taw and built by Manning Wardle of Leeds. Once the railway commenced operations, it became clear that three locomotives was insufficient for daily operations and, unable to obtain a fourth Manning Wardle, an order was placed with the Baldwin Locomotive Works in the USA. This fourth loco was named Lyn
The carriages were built to a high standard and also significantly larger than most other narrow gauge rolling stock. As a result, the coaches were both spacious and comfortable. The three larger stations had buildings which were also unusual, being of a "Swiss Chalet" style.
The L&B was purchased by the Southern Railway in 1923, who commenced a major investment program including relaying and refencing the track, obtaining another locomotive from Manning Wardle named Lew as well as new goods vehicles too.
In the face of increasing competition from road transport, the Southern decided to close the line in 1935.
The railway's rolling stock and track were sold at auction on 13th November 1935 and shortly after, the locos were cut up for scrap, and coaches cut into sections and sold of as garden sheds. The track was lifted the following year and the line reverted back to nature.
With the track gone and the rolling stock cut up for scrap the Lynton and Barnstaple railway slumbered on for almost seventy years! Most of the buildings survived and remained in use – most notably Blackmoor as the Old Station Inn.
The trackbed has remained mostly untouched as have some of the bridges, and the magnificent Chelfham Viaduct is still standing, silently waiting for trains to return.
The L&B was and is not dead - only sleeping. Back in 1979 a keen band of volunteers got together and undertook to restore this lost railway. However, it was soon realised that unlike pioneers such as the Talyllyn and Ffestiniog Railways, rebuilding the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway is not preservation but reconstruction of almost everything the railway needs. Consequently, rebuilding the L&B is an extremely ambitious project which few back then would even have considered undertaking.
Despite this, great progress has been made in the past few years and today you can board a train at Woody Bay Station and travel to Killington Lane and back on a two mile round trip behind a narrow-gauge steam locomotive - the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway is once more carrying passengers on a section of the old trackbed.
The volunteers who are slowly and courageously putting this lost little gem back into the Devon landscape deserve wider support, so do visit yourself and experience this most charming and unique of railways.
|Ticket Type||Ticket Tariff|
|1st Class Upgrade (return)||£3.00 per ticket|
|Adult||£7.50 per ticket|
|Child aged 5-14||£3.00 per ticket|
|Family (2 adults and up to 3 children)||£18.00 per ticket|
|Senior Citizen (over 65)||£6.00 per ticket|
Children under 5 accompanied by fare-paying adults travel FREE
Single fares ARE available - these are half the rate of the return fares
Once purchased, tickets allow for unlimited travel on the day - subject to availability of space on the trains. You can leave and return later if you like or stay with us all day.
We offer a 50% discount if you return for a visit and travel any time within the next 28 days. Just retain your ticket.
A Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway Ticket (purchased within the last 7 days) entitles you to a 10% discount.
Access to the station, shop, toilets and parking is completely FREE, except during some special events when other conditions may apply including an entrance fee. Please enquire if you are unsure. We suggest that you allow approximately 40 minutes for a single visit including a train journey.
You can stay on site or on our trains all day if you wish - all at no extra charge.
From the M5, turn off at junction 27 (Tiverton) and follow the A361 'North Devon Link Road' to South Molton. At the North Aller Roundabout (Aller Cross) take the third exit - the A399 signposted Combe Martin, Ilfracombe and Woolacombe. There is also a second signpost indicating Brayford and Blackmoor Gate and a "Brown Tourist Sign" for Exmoor via Blackmoor Gate which includes Lynton Cliff Railway
At Blackmoor Gate, turn right onto the A39 towards Lynton - where the Cliff Railway is again signposted.
After about 4.5 miles, Woody Bay Station will appear on your left.
By Bus: To get to Woody Bay Station from Barnstaple, you will need to take either the 309 or 310 bus from Barnstaple Bus Station.
This information is self-assessed; therefore we accept no liability for its accuracy. Please contact the venue for further information.
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