Worldwide Narrow Gauges > UK (Welsh, British) Two Footers

Lynton & Barnstaple Railway purchase another station site


Chris Dadson:
Being a member of the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway in the UK, you may be interested to learn that we have successfully purchased another station site comprising the former Bratton Fleming Station building and freight yard.

Opened in 1898, the original line was approximately 19? miles in length between the towns of Barnstaple and Lynton in the south-west of England. The original line had a track gauge of 1 foot 11½ inches and was closed in 1935.

Sixty-nine years after in 2004, the railway reopened as a steam heritage railway at Woody Bay station and a short length of track with an amended gauge of 600mm (1 foot 11? inches). Since then, we have purchased a fair amount of the original trackbed, together with two more stations, Chelfham and Snapper Halt, albeit that these are not yet connected to the railway and the latter station is owned by Exmoor Associates, a private independent non-profit company working alongside the L&BR for the purpose of procuring trackbed as and when it becomes available for purchase.

Our latest procurement is the site of the station and freight yard at Bratton Fleming. When the original railway closed in 1935 the station was sold and the station building found a new existence as a residential property. Over the ensuing years, several extensions were added to the original building as can be seen in the first image below. It will be several years before the heritage railway has extended the railway track to Bratton Fleming. Therefore rather than allowing the station building and freight site (currently a large garden) to remain unoccupied, the plan is to allow a tenant to lease/rent the house (in the same condition as it currently stands) and garden for an initial 3-year occupation period.

The station building as it stands today – the tiled roof covers the original building as seen in the image below

A computer colourised photograph showing Bratton Fleming Station, shortly after opening in 1898

Benjamin Richards:
I have been following the saga of this particular station rather closely from "across the pond". As I understand, the L&B mounted a rather impressive fundraising campaign and overcame not one, but TWO other offers which fell through for one reason or another.

Is the paperwork all complete now? Last I heard, the pace of the legal proceedings was "glacial", as real estate matters often are.

Chris Dadson:
Yes, there were indeed two other bidders attempting to purchase the property. Both made offers to purchase, which fortunately for us were later both withdrawn. Before we could submit our offer, we first had to raise the purchase price by appealing to our members (and others) for the money to do so. Having raised the required funds made us a "cash buyer" which normally would have smoothed the way forward. But because of the current Covid-19 pandemic, the whole procurement process was further complicated and delayed.

However the money has now been transferred to the vendor via their lawyer, so yes the Exmoor Associates company is now the property owner. There may well be some further delay before the final documentation is finalised by reason that the whole of England is going back into complete lockdown tomorrow because of Covid-19.


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