Welshpool. An Unexpected Journey.

It was towards the end of October and the weather had picked itself up from the grey doldrums. Not wanting to waste this bonus of sunshine I took myself off by train. I had decided to go down to the Welsh borderlands and travelled on to Chester and then Shrewsbury. It’s a pleasant, easy journey that I’ve taken quite a few times.

From Shrewsbury I decided to head out to the market town of Welshpool, it sits on the Montgomery Canal and it’s an area I know little if anything about. If nothing else it would be an interesting journey, I would have a meal and pick up ideas for next years when the longer, warmer days return.

The journey out wasn’t a long one and the station at Welshpool is not too far from the town centre. The old station building is no longer in use by the railway but instead is now a shopping centre in the renovated building.

I knew that Welshpool was served by one of the many preserved narrow gauge lines that are a feature of Wales, the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway, so I made my way over to the station at Raven Square to see what information was available for future planning. The railway has it’s beginnings in attempts to increase access to the farms and villages in the valleys higher up in the hills and at one time it ran right through then town to the station on the main line. Unfortunately between it’s closure and reopening at the hands of volunteers the stretch through the town was lost.

When I got to the station, it’s not a long walk and it was a really pleasant day, I found that I was only fifteen minutes away from a departure so I took advantage of this stroke of luck and had an extremely enjoyable journey along the valley of the River Banwy to the terminus at Llanfair Caereinion and a lunch in the pleasant station cafe.

It’s definitely on my list for a revisit in 2019.

20/10/18  WELSHPOOL. The Powysland Museum.

WELSHPOOL. The Powysland Museum on the Montgomery Canal. The museum has its roots in the Powysland Club which was formed in the 1860’s by a group of like minded souls who had in interest in the history of the area, since 1990 the museum has been based in the warehouse alongside the Mongomery Canal. the canal is undergoing a proces of restoration after many years of decline where stretches of it became un-navigable through a build up of rubbish or by draining.

20/10/18  WELSHPOOL. Broad Street.

WELSHPOOL. Looking up Broad Street, one of the main shopping streets in the town. In the distance is the tower of the town hall, the town’s market which is open Monday to Saturday, is housed in the ground floor of the town hall. Up until the early 1830’s Welshpool, four miles from the border with England, was known simply as Pool, the Welsh was added to avoid confusion with Poole in Dorset.

20/10/18  WELSHPOOL & LLANFAIR Light Rly. Welshpool Raven Square

WELSHPOOL & LLANFAIR Light Rly. Welshpool Raven Square Station which lie just on the edge of the town centre. Originally when built the railway carried on through then centre of Welshpool to link up with the main line at the Cambrian Railways station on the opposite side of the town. The station buildings were obtained from Eardisley in Herefordshire and rebuilt to form the Raven Square station.

20/10/18  WELSHPOOL & LLANFAIR Light Rly. Welshpool Raven Square

WELSHPOOL. The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway’s Raven Square station, the two o’clock departure to Llanfair Caereinion gets ready to leave. Because the railway’s guage of 2’6″ is an unusual one in the UK the railway has sourced carriaged from abroad giving the trains an individual and continental look.

20/10/18  WELSHPOOL & LLANFAIR Light Rly. Welshpool Raven Square

WELSHPOOL. The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway’s Raven Square station, the two o’clock departure to Llanfair Caereinion gets ready to leave. Loco 823 Countess swaps ends for the jopurney back up to Llanfair. The loco is one of the two original locomotives built for the line’s opening in1903, the other being the Earl. Their names are in honour of the Earl and Countess of Powis who were heavily involved in the beginnings of the line.

20/10/18  WELSHPOOL. Refilling The Boiler.

WELSHPOOL & LLANFAIR Light Rly. Welshpool Raven Square Station refilling the boiler of loco 823 Countess ready for the next journey out to Llanfair. There’s a lot of heavy work involved in running a light railway.

20/10/18  WELSHPOOL& Llanfair Light Rly. Through The Trees.

WELSHPOOL. Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway, running through the trees near Llanfair. The railway takes and eight mile route from Welshpool to Llanfair Caereinion along the valley of the River Banwy.

20/10/18  WELSHPOOL& Llanfair Light Rly. Lineside.

WELSHPOOL. Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway, lineside views near Sylfaen.

20/10/18  LLANFAIR CAEREINION. Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railwa

LLANFAIR CAEREINION. Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway. 823 Countess at the country terminus and headquarters of the railway.

20/10/18  LLANFAIR CAEREINION. Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railwa

LLANFAIR CAEREINION. Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway. loco No 85 a former Sierra Leone Ralways locomotive built by Hunslett of Leeds. The loco is currently awaiting restoration.

20/10/18  LLANFAIR CAEREINION. Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railwa

LLANFAIR CAEREINION. Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway. The station at Llanfair, headquarters and engineering base for the railway. The attractive little village is situated by the River Banwy which can be enjoyed by a series of walks from the station.

 

WELSHPOOL & LLAINFAIR LIGHT RAILWAY

VISITING WELSHPOOL

RAILWAY TIMETABLES

MY STUFF.

BOOKS

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BLACK & WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY

PORTFOLIO

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Chorley. Waiting For The Bus.

Even though I’m a car owner I still like to use public transport regularly, either the bus or the train. I welcome the change from being the driver so I can just sit back and let the journey unfold. I find these sorts of journeys really helpful if I’m working on a project, a photo book, a short story or a blog post that’s got a bit ‘sticky’ or isn’t progressing as well as it should. I just sit and watch the world go by the bus or train window and let my mind freewheel. I try not to deliberately think about the problem in hand, that just seems to chase any solution further away into the dark corners.

There’s plenty of stimulus to be found on these journeys, scraps of overheard conversation, or scenes being acted out as you pass by.

What were those two staring at so intently?

What was in the big, cardboard box that was so heavy?

The briefly noticed scene in a cafe window, do those two people meet regularly?

The list is endless.

There was a particular reason for me travelling to Chorley, a market town in central Lancashire, not too far from where I live. The town has a vibrant centre and market, with plenty of independent traders and they always put on a good event. I was going to collect my ticket to the flower show which is held at the end of July in the grounds of Astley Hall which is just off the town centre. This is the fourth year that the show is being held and each year they have added to and improved it.

It has become a permanent fixture now in my own calendar. There’s all the attractions you would expect, the displays, the talks, appearances from well known gardeners from the TV. There’s also a growing food court area.

Speaking of food, collecting my ticket only took a few minutes so I had plenty of time to have a walk around the town and the market. I had a really good brunch at one of my favourites, Bee’s Country Kitchen on the market and after some more shopping I headed back to the bus station in time to have an afternoon coffee & cake at Woodchats Cafe on the bus station, in fact you can just make it out at the top, right hand corner of the photo.

The next event I’m looking forward to after the flower show is Chorley Live, a two night event of live music played at venues throughout the town centre. I blog more about that one when I’ve been.

CHORLEY FLOWER SHOW

CHORLEY LIVE

BEES COUNTRY KITCHEN

WOODCHATS COFFEE SHOP

MY BOOKS

MY IMAGE PORTFOLIO

 

 

Ferry To Knott End For Fish & Chips

I like fish and chips, I also like really good fish and chips. One of my favourite ‘chippies’ is in the small town of Knott End which faces out over the wide expanse of Morecambe Bay. 

20-09-12 KNOTT END. The very good chippy

This is the chip shop in question, it’s easy to find, it’s the only one. You can do take away or be posh and sit in. Depending on the bracing Lancashire weather I usually take my fish and chips al fresco and sit out on the nearby promenade and enjoy the views across the bay.

Now to get to Knott End, the origin of the name is lost in the mists of time, it may have referred to twin mounds of stones which once stood on the shore but were cleared when nearby Fleetwood Harbour was built, I can either drive all there way there or make my way to Fleetwood which is on the opposite side of the River Wyre estuary and take the Knott End Ferry. This may sound odd but the road distance between two towns is approximately 11 miles as you skirt the Wyre estuary to the first road crossing then head back along  the other side.  The ferry journey is about three minutes. 

20-09-12 FLEETWOOD. The Pharos.

This is the Pharos at Fleetwood, one of the two navigation lights built by the architect Decimus Burton to aid shipping using the channel into the town’s harbour. Fleetwood has it’s beginnings as a planned town in the 1830’s  on land owned by local magnate Peter Hesketh Fleetwood. The original plan had the street laid out in a half wheel pattern centered on the largest of a series of sand dunes near the shore, this became the Mount and it’s surrounding ornamental  gardens.

20-09-12 FLEETWOOD. The Wyre Estuary Ferry, The Wyre Rose outside the window

The ferry leaves from the landing stage opposite the tram stop for the famous Blackpool trams which also serve Fleetwood. The current ferry boat is the ‘Wyre Rose’ and it runs through the day on a regular timetable. some days the crossing is smooth, sometimes not but at only three minutes or so there’s not a lot to worry about.  There is also small waiting room on the Fleetwood side if the weather is being unfriendly.

20-09-12 FLEETWOOD. The Wyre Estuary Ferry, The Wyre Rose E

The ferry has it’s regular users, it’s a pleasanter prospect to use the short ferry crossing to Fleetwood with it’s market and shops, than to drive or travel by bus along the winding roads. 20-09-12 KNOTT END. The Wyre Rose

Things at the Knott End side are a little more basic, or bracing depending on the height of the tide but it’s only a short walk up the slipway to the promenade and its cafe, converted out of the old station buildings of the former Knott End Railway, an extremely local line with a very chequered financial  history 

LANCASHIRE, Fleetwood. The Old Lighthouse.

LANCASHIRE, Fleetwood. The old lighthouse.

On your way across, you may see the skeletal remains of the Wyre Light, the now ruined third of the estuary’s lighthouses. Built by the engineer Alexander Mitchell it dates from the 1840’s.

20-09-12 KNOTT END. The clock

There’s a handy clock by the chip shop, so you can keep you eye on the time for your ferry back. 

FERRY TIMETABLE