Since last month’s Work Progress Report regular maintenance and restoration work has continued on our trackbed sections at Snapper Halt and Collard Bridge.
1. On Saturday 27th June at the southern end of the Snapper Halt section several tree stumps were removed as they were hampering use of the SCAG flail-mower. A couple of larger stumps still remain as it was impossible to shift them by hand. Removal of these will require use of a large machine.
2. Elsewhere at Snapper Halt work was in hand to improve the drainage. This photo shows a new drainage channel that had been dug in front of the Platelayers’ Hut. This new drainage channel is only a temporary solution until an excavator becomes available to do the job properly along with some other drainage work within this section of trackbed. At another location a pipe was laid in a newly dug drainage channel and covered over allowing the SCAG flail mower to cross.
Also on 27th June, about two tonnes of suitable building stone was recovered from a pile recovered from the old Collard Bridge river crossing with the permission of SW Highways last year on completion of the river bridge replacement program. EA intend to use this stone in the rebuilding of the Snapper Halt Platelayers’ Hut and also to extend the hard standing area.
3. Work continued at Snapper Halt on 5th July. Most of the day was spent strimming the trackbed. When completed a survey was then undertaken in preparation for a meeting with the Environment Agency regarding the debris that has built up in the River Yeo since the walls of Bridge 16 collapsed back in 2012.
4. On Wednesday 8th July we met with two officers from the Environment Agency for discussions regarding our need to obtain a ‘Flood Defence Consent’, required to enable us to protect and rebuild our banks along the River Yeo. Considerable advice was received on how to use the existing debris to implement a cost effective repair for the lost river bank which will also provide a natural habitat for all sorts of little critters.
5. Since the fall of Bridge 16’s abutments in 2012, the flow of water has eroded the river bank (particularly on our side of the river) resulting in the loss of up to about 12 feet of land in places. In addition, a large accumulation of tree branches and other debris (including footballs) has gathered as can be seen above.
6. As soon as the Environment Agency’s consent has been received we can begin work to clear the obstruction followed by removal of the old abutments and repairs to the river banks. Anyone wishing to have a day paddling in the River Yeo, please don’t be shy, your assistance will be more than welcome.
7. Work on Saturday 18th July at Snapper Halt was devoted to tidying the Platelayers’ Hut in preparation for the rebuild. In this first image we can see the the now cleaned out remains to the original floor level which appears to be old ash.
8. The door threshold appears to be a length of railway sleeper, which has been notched at either end to take the door frame uprights and has a wide groove down the centre obviously to stop water being blown in off the door bottom. It is in reasonably solid condition, and hopefully may be incorporated in to the future rebuilt building.
9. This final view of the Platelayers’ Hut shows the improved and tidy condition of the fire place.
10. Whilst the Platelayers’ Hut at Snapper Halt was being tidied, work was also underway at our Collard Bridge section. Local dairy & organic chicken farmers and EA supporters Neil & Josh Thorne were busy using their agricultural machinery (topper & tractor) to cut the grass and other vegetation. This first image was taken from Collard Bridge looking down on the route of the trackbed which curves to the right following completion of their work.
11. This second image shows the trackbed at Collard Bridge viewed from the entrance gate next to the river bridge. Both Neil and Josh are extremely busy this time of year and we thank them for making time to help us out.
12. On Tuesday 28th July, the concrete bridge plate & post at Collard Bridge was repaired and reinstated. During the construction of the replacement Collard Bridge river crossing, the two numerals on the bridge plate were damaged beyond repair. Two replacement numerals (‘1’ & ‘8’) having been previously cast were attached to the old concrete plate, which was then reinstalled in its original location in the centre of the wing-wall on the right-hand side facing towards down trains. We thank John Mack Smith for casting the replacement numerals.
We still need additional volunteers to help us maintain our procured trackbed for the Phase 3 extension of the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway. If you would like to assist us, or should you require any further information, then please contact our Volunteer Coordinator by at email@example.com or telephone 07850 471651.
Photo credits: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 11 & 12 Rob Sadd, and 2, 7, 8, 9 & 10 Andy Hearn.