The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway Trust
The L&BR Trust is a registered charity whose aim is to conserve and restore the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway along its original 19-mile route between Lynton & Barnstaple. It currently operates a 1-mile section of the line from the restored Woody Bay station south to Killington Lane halt.
The Local Government Position
The restoration of the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway is an integral element of the Local Plans of Exmoor National Park, North Devon & Torridge, and is also supported in the Lynton & Lynmouth Neighbourhood Plan. These authorities recognise the former railway as a valuable heritage asset that should be restored to further their community and sustainability objectives. So, the whole route of the former railway from Lynton into Barnstaple at Pilton Causeway is now protected from adverse development.
In 2016 the L&BR Trust was granted planning permission by North Devon Council to reinstate the railway line outside the National Park to Wistlandpound reservoir. This was followed in 2018 by permission granted by the Exmoor National Park for the section between the present terminus at Killington Lane and the National Park boundary.
The Railway and the Environment
One reason that the route of the former railway is considered to be a heritage asset is that it is still largely intact and visible in the landscape, and the relative freedom from obstructions means the environmental impact of reinstating the line will be positive. Even areas where significant works are needed will see net environmental gains. There will be a gain of biodiversity from the conversion of a narrow strip of land (much of it grazed at present) to form a continuous 5.5-mile habitat corridor. Careful management of embankments and cuttings along the line will help create a diverse environment that will be a haven for wildlife and native plants. Surplus land will allow new woodland to be created.
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