Friday, 4 November 2016

Destination Meldon Viaduct....

One of the walks we took just a few days after arriving back down in Devon was along the Granite Way from Okehampton station.
We parked the car in the station car park and had only been walking the way for about half a mile when we saw a cyclist approaching us who looked familiar...

As the rider got up to us Anne said "it's Bill".....
She was right..
It was Bill Turnbull a South African guy who we met last year on our winter pitch at Tavistock..
He had been touring for a couple of years and had decided to overwinter at the Tavistock site just like us...
Being a keen cyclist we had a common interest and we used to exchange cycling magazines and spend hours chatting about the cycling scene....

Due to some health issues Bill decided in the spring that he would have to change lifestyle and give up the touring life... I remember when he had to sell his motorhome he was really upset... He loved the freedom of the road and enjoyed his touring life very much... It really was a major wrench for him to give it all up...
He acquired a flat in Okehampton and I remember him telling me that the best thing about it was that it even had a bike shed....

Anyway.. seeing him cycling along the Granite way  was a pleasant surprise and we spent sometime catching up with each others lives....

After we had finished chatting with Bill he carried on with his ride and we set off again on our walk...... our destination was Meldon Viaduct....
The walk itself there and back is only about six miles but it is a really pleasant walk with some lovely views....

Meldon Viaduct is a Truss Bridge that used to carry the London and South Western Railway (LSWR) across the West Okement River at Meldon near Okehampton on Dartmoor in Devon.
The bridge was constructed from wrought iron and cast iron and was built under the direction of LSWRs chief engineer W.R.Galbraith.
The  dual-tracked bridge took three years to build and was opened to rail traffic in 1874.
The viaduct had an axle load limit and as such was limited to certain classes of locomotive.

Regular services were withdrawn in 1968 but the bridge continued to be used for shunting by a local quarry. 
In the 1990s the remaining track was removed and the crossing is now used by the Granite Way...a long distance cycle track that runs across Dartmoor.....

The viaduct is one of only two such surviving railway bridges in the UK that uses this type of cast and wrought iron construction.

Below are some images of Meldon Viaduct that I took during our walk....






5 comments:

GreenComotion said...

Really beautiful place, Trevor.
I wonder if anyone ever walks on this bridge.
It is very nice to recall that not only is the view from a bridge beautiful, but the bridge itself is a thing of a joy also.
Have a Happy Weekend!
Peace :)

Peter Roberts said...

Another interesting post. I wonder if the viaduct near us at Swarkstone is one of the 'Viaduct Family ' ..it certainly looks similar

Trevor Woodford said...

*GreenComotion*
You can certainly walk across the bridge Chandra..... The Granite Way goes over the bridge and is open for both cyclists and walkers...in fact Anne and I walked across it during our visit.

You're right about the beauty of some bridges...the sweeping lines and curves of a lot of bridges can indeed be a really nice sight.

*Peter Roberts*
Glad you found the post interesting Peter....If the bridge that you mentioned is the Trent Viaduct I think that the construction of the support legs is different...

Steve A said...

The UK has more than its fair share of cool railway bridges. I blame that at least partly on Brunel.

Trevor Woodford said...

*Steve A*
I agree with you there Steve....Brunel is the man to blame... :-)