A Journey along the Teign Valley Railway
from Heathfield Station to Alphington Halt
Researched from books, old maps and villager's memories
Opened 1st July 1874 known as Chudleigh Road
Renamed Heathfield 1st October 1882
Passengers are boarding the steam train standing in the Teign Valley bay, the lucky ones having enjoyed a fish and chip meal from a nearby fish and chip shop and washed it down with a pint of beer from the public house that also stands nearby. Trees stand to the right of the bay and on the left the timber-built station buildings and the signal box built of white bricks at the far end of the platform. To the left of the platform on the other side of the Moretonhampstead line lies the Great Western pottery and brickworks of Candy and Co. Ltd. Ahead of the bay the long line of Heathfield Cottages rise from the landscape.
Pulling out of Heathfield Station and sweeping slowly around a long, sharp right-hand curve through scrub land the Bovey Lane crossing comes into view immediately. The crossing keeper's house, built of Candy's bricks in 1880, is adjacent to the line on the left hand side and on the right a small wooded area. The view is backed by trees and rolling hills of fields.
Steaming slowly over the Bovey Lane crossing and gathering pace running on to the embankment crossing the flat Bovey River water meadows, travelling over the Bovey Marsh Bridge and then over the Bovey River Bridge. Running through a shallow cutting through Bovey Heath and afterwards over Knighton Heath. Travelling first under the Little Bovey Bridge and second under the Knighton Bridge carrying the A38 then onto Chudleigh Knighton Halt.
Chudleigh Knighton Halt
Opened Monday 9th June 1924
Entering Chudleigh Knighton Halt the grasses sway on the banks, stopping at the Halt with its 150 ft. block-built platform and a 20 ft. by 7 ft. 6 in. Pagoda shelter on the right. Trees and bushes are viewed all around and into the distance.
Leaving Chudleigh Knighton Halt, crossing over Pipehouse Lane and passing by the [Chudleigh] Knighton Crossing house, on the right, built in 1881, and immediately entering the Teign Valley. Travelling through fields for about a mile then crossing a substantial bridge over the River Teign for the first time. Keeping close to the river and travelling through flat meadows, then passing close to the Bellamarsh Copse and also the B3193 which is only separated from the line by a wooden fence. Travelling onto Chudleigh Station.
Opened 9th October 1882
Entering Chudleigh Station and pulling up beside the platform with wooden station buildings and a platform canopy on the right, this is the only station on the Teign Valley line to have a platform canopy. Nothing much changes at this station, it is as of it has stood still in time. Trees and grassy hills surround the station.
Leaving Chudleigh Station, passing by the raised wooden platform that is used for boarding and departing the trains when the river floods the station and immediately passing under the road bridge. Continuing through meadows by the winding River Teign with Lyncham Wood to the left. Crossing over the river for the second time at Huxbear Bridge and continuing through meadows dotted with copses and wooded areas, to the right Puttshills Woods and to the left Huxbear Barton and then lower Crockham Copse. Crossing the river for the third time at Crockham Bridge and continuing through countryside consisting of wooded areas and hills patch-worked with fields and on to Trusham Station.
Opened 9th October 1882
Entering and stopping at Trusham Station with its Candy's yellow-brick station buildings on the left. Milk churns are standing on the platform awaiting collection and trees, bushes and fields are seen around and into the distance. Newspapers that had been thrown from the early morning train on to the platform, as at other village halts and stations along the route, had long since been gathered up and distributed as necessary.
Leaving Trusham travelling under a road bridge and continuing through the valley consisting of meadows, copses and plantations, Doghole Copse and Plantation to the left and Whetcombe Barton/Farm to the right. Travelling on through grassland, Pool Meadow Copse and then Bramble Wood comes into view on the right before reaching Ashton.
Opened 9th October 1882
Passing the old engine shed on the right and arriving at the beautiful Ashton Station with yellow-brick station buildings and a 160 ft. platform on the left and grassy hills, bushes, trees and village cottages on the right. A small group of milk churns are on the platform waiting for collection.
Leaving Ashton and crossing a lane immediately and travelling along side the river, through fields and then crossing the river twice more in fairly quick succession. Passing through more meadows, grasslands and by wooded areas, on the right Scannicliff Copse and onto Christow Station.
Opened 12th July 1903
Passing under a bridge and arriving and stopping at Christow Station with its red-brick, hipped-roofed station building on the left. On the right hand side of the line is another waiting shelter also built in red brick with a hipped roof. A feature ahead, at the north end of the platform, are the Pine trees standing either side of the line against the backdrop of grassy hills and wooded areas.
Leaving Christow Station and beginning to climb passing Sheldon Copse. Leaving the River Teign just before Leigh Cross, travelling over Leigh Bridge and then along the shoulder of the hill. To the left is the Sowton Brook and here and there travelling through deep cuttings on to Dunsford Halt.
Opened Monday 16th January 1928
Arriving at Dunsford Halt the grasses dotted with wild flowers either side of the line quiver as the train stops at the 100 ft. platform with a 12 ft. by 8 ft. lean to shelter constructed of corrugated iron on the left. Beyond the grassy banks are trees and grasslands.
Leaving Dunsford Halt and curling gently to the right while continuing to climb slowly along the shoulder of the hill, travelling through farm land, Britton Park and Oxen Park then through Midwinter Copse towards the Culver Tunnel. Exiting the 248-yard long tunnel and travelling through beautiful woodlands onto Longdown Station.
Opened 1st July 1903
Entering and stopping at Longdown Station which is built on a curve in a remote setting and surrounded by wonderful woodlands. The station buildings are brick built and roses are growing by the platform, a signalman quickly appears selling flowers to the passengers.
Leaving Longdown Station and travelling through the trees and entering the 836-yard long Perridge Tunnel. Some passengers stare into the darkness wondering if the headless ghost is wandering around. The ghost, who is said to haunt the tunnel, is of an unfortunate man who had either slipped in the tunnel or had committed suicide. He was decapitated and when his body was found his head was 16 ft. away from it. Leaving the tunnel and running through Perridge woods for about a mile, then passing Perridge House, then through Pond Field and Ide Brake and farm land and fields. The train eases to a stop between Longdown Station and Ide Halt and a farmer departs the train grateful he will have a shorter walk home over the fields now he has been dropped off between stations. He gives the driver and stoker a wave of thanks, they wave back and smile at each other eyeing up the bags of vegetables and potatoes given in payment for the favour. Crossing over Halscombe Lane and travelling through a deep cutting and onto Ide Halt.
Opened 1st July 1903
Entering and stopping beside the long, curving platform of Ide Halt with brick built station buildings on the right. The Halt is adjacent to Ide village with a backdrop of farm land and buildings and countryside of trees, bushes and a patchwork of fields.
Leaving Ide Halt and passing by the houses and cottages of Ide Village and approaching Polehouse Lane bridge through cuttings. Travelling through unspoiled countryside flanked by trees and blackberry bushes, then over the bridge at Ide Lane. Constitutional Hill and the Alphin Brook can be seen on the left and the rolling hills of Haldon to the right and onto Alphington Halt.
Opened Monday 2nd April 1928
Entering Alphington Halt and stopping at its 100 ft. timber platform with a 12 ft. by 8 ft. lean to shelter constructed of corrugated iron on the right. From the embankment on which the halt stands is a wonderful view over farmland and countryside.
Passengers depart the train and the driver sticks his head out side of the locomotive and shouts above the noise of the hiss of steam to remind the regular passengers that tomorrow morning the train will depart from Alphington Halt for Heathfield at 7 am sharp!
Copyright © Rowena Kirkpatrick