Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Chevet cycle and walking path

After a busy morning of math, literacy and reading, it was off to swimming for us today, followed later in the afternoon by a short walk as Small was tired from his efforts in the pool.

Among the many disused railways in the region that are now walkable is the former Midland Railway branch line which ran from Royston Junction through to Horbury.  It seems hard to imagine that the main line, from which our branch line diverged, was so busy that it was quadrupled in 1900 to cope with the sheer volume of traffic running along its rails.  Now, it is a sad remnant of its former self, reduced to a single track that hardly ever sees a train.

The single remaining track can just be glimpsed through the trees
What galls all the more is that instead of utilising still existing parts of railway routes, like this section, to carry the HS2 line from London to Leeds, the government wants to build the new HS2 line a short distance away from infrastructure that's already in situ.   Surely this ready-made line could be restored, recycled and reused, with new sections only built where it's actually necessary?  It would appear common sense has nothing to do with it!

Not only will the proposed HS2 route totally bypass Wakefield, so bring no benefit to the district whatsoever, it will also destroy part of Waterton Park, which was set up as the world's first nature reserve by Squire Charles Waterton.  It seems it will also decimate part of Angler's Country Park and Haw Park Wood as well.  As for the artist's impression of the new "viaducts" they plan to build, let's just say Isambard Kingdom Brunell and George Stephenson would be turning in their respective graves.  A viaduct, where one must be constructed, should be an impressive piece of engineering not some bloody great eye sore.  But I digress!

Bridge over the railway at Royston Junction
We began our walk at Old Royston, which is where the Chevet branch line began, and diverged away from the former Midland Railway's main line.  The route links here with the Trans Pennine Trail and one can do the walk "properly" by following the blue TPT sign at right, and coming back on yourself under the railway bridge.  We didn't though, and we went down the steps which lead down from the abuttment on the left of the picture.

Three arches. Two for the former main lines, the closest for the branch line
Looking back towards the branch line arch from the bottom of the steps
Small heading off down the track
A left-over from railway days?
Another impressive 3-arch old railway bridge
After passing wooded embankments, and grassy embankments that were teeming with rabbits, we soon came to this old 3-arch bridge with two small arches either side of a large central arch.  This shot is taken looking back at the bridge, as the approach side was covered in some sort of vines.  It doesn't carry a road of any sort, and is only just marked on my new map.  My old map has it as "FB" denoting a footbridge, but neither of the maps show any sort of path crossing it so I'm not sure what it was for.

No doubt of this path's railway past, plenty of old ballast remains
Looking across towards Notton Grange from the Chevet Branch Line footpath
and looking the other side over the wheat fields near Monckton Manor
Just past here, the former railway cutting appears to have been filled in as the path suddenly slopes quite sharply upward, remaining level until it slopes down again just before the bridge which carries B6132 over the former railway, near Notton.

The path slopes back down to its original level here to pass under the B6132
The bridge carrying the B6132 over the former Chevet branch line
Brick arches reinforced with metal on the roof of the bridge
Path up to the car park off Smawell Lane
We left the path just beyond the bridge over the B6132 to go up to the car park which is just off the turning into Smawell Lane, having walked around 1.5km.  Not a long walk, but enough for Small who was tired from swimming.

The Chevet branch line itself continues to be walkable for perhaps another 6km, going through picturesque countryside and past Newmillerdam Country Park.  The path now terminates at Wood Lane, thanks largely to the efforts of Wakefield's cycle group who have worked tirelessly to ensure this traffic-free path's existence to connect this route to the Trans Pennine Trail.

When we got home it was time for tea - which, for the benefit of my overseas readers is what we northern Brits call our evening meal - so I went harvesting in the garden.  I managed to find a few peas, picked some strawberries and a lettuce.  The outer leaves of the lettuce were rather manky, but the inner part was still perfectly edible.

Today's harvest
These were teamed up with some chicken kievs (95p for 2) and a garlic baguette (35p), both from Aldi.  A delicious meal and only 65p per portion, making it very frugal indeed.

Until next time. x

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments welcomed. Your words and encouragement make it all worthwhile.