Woody Bay railway station

Woody Bay railway station

Woody Bay, within the Exmoor National Park, is a station on the former Lynton and Barnstaple Railway, a famously scenic narrow gauge line that ran through Exmoor from Barnstaple to Lynton and Lynmouth in North Devon. The station was situated inland, about 2km from Woody Bay itself. It opened with the line (as "Wooda Bay" until the name was changed in 1901) on 7 March 1898, and closed with it after service on 29 September 1935. From 1923 until closure, the line was operated by the Southern Railway.

Woody Bay station was built in part to serve the expected development of a resort at Woody Bay, a mile or so to the north. A pier was built in the bay, although little further development took place, and the pier was destroyed by heavy seas before any trade could be established with passing steamers, and the development was abandoned when the promotor went into liquidation in 1900, and although a route was surveyed for a branch line to the bay, it was never constructed.

Following purchase by the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway Company in 1995, restoration of the station began, and it opened as a Visitors' Centre in 2003. An "out and back" service over a few hundred yards of track began in 2004, and with the opening of a temporary station about a mile towards Barnstaple, a regular "point to point" service started in 2006.

Several trees have grown in the intervening years, but these two photos, taken over a hundred years apart, are still recognisably from the same location. The carriage shed built into the cutting beyond the station is a temporary structure erected in 2003. As the line is extended over coming years towards Lynton, Woody Bay station will return to being an interim stop along the line, the shed will move to the next railhead, the inspection pit inside will be filled in, and the trackbed will return to much the same condition it was in when the line closed.

Woody Bay station is at: gbmapping|SS68254641

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