Combe Rail

Rebuilding the Railway

Preserving the heritage of the Ilfracombe-Barnastaple railway and lobbying for its reopening.

Combe Rail was set up in 2015 to preserve the heritage of the Barnstaple-Ilfracombe railway (1874-1970.) After extensive consultation, and surveys of the route, we are launching two exciting projects:

The former railway trackbed from Ilfracombe to Willingcott now forms part of the National Cycle Network’s Coast-to-Coast Route 27. We have obtained permission from Pall Europe to restore the former pedestrian approach to Ilfracombe Station and to install a replica of the original station sign. This will also provide a fitting northern gateway to Cycle Route 27.

We will restore surviving railway infrastructure along the route, including the down distant signal at Slade reservoirs, platelayers’ huts and gradient posts. We are seeking permission to install a 30′ track panel alongside the cycle path on Ilfracombe Bank to demonstrate the notorious 1-in-36 gradient. We will supplement the existing interpretation boards with a series of Video Posts. These will feature a QR code, enabling Trail users with mobile devices to view a video slideshow of classic railway photographs taken at the same location in years gone by.