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Chelfham Station: November 2020


In between the lockdown periods this year, some considerable progress has been made with the restoration work around the site at Chelfham Station.

The few volunteers, usually working separately, and abiding with the social distancing guidelines, have been able to undertake great progress on a variety of projects, as shown in the following pictures.

1. Chelfham Station, Autumn 2020.

2. Earlier in the summer, a section of gates and railings in the appropriate Southern Railway livery have been installed along the back of the up platform adjacent to the restored signal cabin, which now houses an ex SR type Stevens-pattern knee frame.

3. The gates now lead to the shop which is just visible in the wooden shed. During the summer opening period, we did receive a number of visitors each week and their generous donations have helped with the purchases of materials for the on going restoration.

4. & 5. Now on display for this year are the two stored ex-Rawle Gammon and Baker (RGB) timber wagons from the old Rolle Quay yard opposite the original L&BR works at Pilton, Barnstaple. One wagon has been restored with new wooden sections, whilst the other is displayed on a short track panel in its original condition.

6. On the floor are two recently delivered wooden signal posts. These will be used to recreate some of the original signals at Chelfham.

7. Earlier in the summer, two cast iron spectacle plates were fabricated. These are the correct style Evans O’Donnell fittings for the home and starter signals. The EOD finials have also been cast at a cost of nearly £200 each. Partly, privately sponsored/Trust funded...but if anyone else would like to help....

8. & 9. Along the up platform the shed and garage were built on the site of the Victorian 'Gents'. Another project begun this year was the recreation of this feature. Work, when possible, has been inside the shed to rebuild the front and wing-walls using natural stone with lime mortar. Eventually, as planning permits, the shed and garage will be removed to reveal the restored 'Gents' on the up platform.

A planning application was submitted recently to North Devon Council with regard to replacing the summerhouse up in the woods with a residential log cabin. These planning procedures are necessary in order to permit further restoration of the site including removal of the unsightly lean-to/1960s extension over the platform.

Although there's no visitors or volunteer work parties at present, the Chelfham birds can enjoy an uninterrupted feast on the various bird feeders that have been put out for them.

10. One of our resident nuthatch's enjoys the sunflower seeds on the right hand feeder.....

11. ....and then moves on the fat balls.

12. Meanwhile (in the background) the well stocked pre-owned book store awaits more customers next year.

Words and photos by Nigel Thompson

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