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|
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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
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.
Until next time. x