Photo By D J Norton

Daffodil Line (North)

On moving to Ledbury in June 1963, my father must have faced a difficult choice.  Should he continue his lifelong allegiance to the LMS or, stranded as he was in GWR territory, start photographing the local lines?  Thankfully, he decided on the latter!

The Ledbury and Gloucester Railway opened in 1885 but closed to passenger traffic in July 1959, long before my father started taking his pictures.  Goods traffic from Gloucester to Dymock continued until May 1964.  There is a brief history on Wikipedia and some maps, news articles and modern views on the splendid Disused Railways site.  I understand that it became known as the Daffodil Line as it was used to transport locals down to Gloucester to pick daffodils every spring!

W End of Ledbury Stn - 27/8/63

West end of Ledbury Station
We start our trip at the far western end of Ledbury Station looking towards Hereford.  In the foreground the line passes over the road bridge seen in the picture immediately below.  Beyond the signal to the left the curve of the old line can just be made out as it heads towards the bridge over Hereford Road, seen to the left of the telegraph pole.

Road Bridge nr Ledbury Stn - 13/12/63

Road bridge near Ledbury Station
Stood at the northern end of The Homend, Ledbury Station is on the right, Bromyard Road is disappearing into the distance and Hereford Road is on the left.

Rail Bridge Hereford Rd Ledbury - 28/1/64

Rail bridge Hereford Road Ledbury
The line passed over this fantastic bridge on Hereford Road.  This bridge has its own Wikipedia page that includes more history of the line.  Thankfully, the bridge survives and now carries the Ledbury Town Trail over the road.

Underside of Bridge Hereford Rd - 29/4/64

Underside of bridge, Hereford Road
My father obviously appreciated the superb design and construction of this bridge and took this close up that shows the skew nature of the bridge.

W End of Orchard Lane - 25/2/65

West end of Orchard Lane
The next road the line crossed was Orchard Lane and this view towards the town shows how narrow the road was at this point.  The bridge parapets have since been demolished and the road widened as seen in this picture looking in the opposite direction.

Ledbury Town Halt from N - 22/8/63

Ledbury Town Halt from north
The part of the line that interested my father most was the old site of Ledbury Town Halt.  This view is looking south towards Greenway and Bridge Street passes over the site of the line with the short platform to the left.  I took this view of the site on a visit to Ledbury in 2009.

S End of Ledbury Town Halt - 22/8/63

South end of Ledbury Town Halt
Having moved closer to Bridge Street, we now see the line curving away towards Greenway.

Ledbury Town Halt from S - 22/8/63

Ledbury Town Halt from south
Having walked under the bridge, my father has turned to look north towards Ledbury Station before taking this shot.  The old cottage to the right has since been demolished.  I took this view stood further back from the road in 2009.

Ledbury Town Halt - 22/12/63

Ledbury Town Halt
A north looking view from Bridge Street towards Ledbury Station.

Notice nr Ledbury Town Halt - 25/5/64

Notice near Ledbury Town Halt
I wonder if this sign was erected when the line was closed in 1959?  Given the houses on the left and the trees on the right (compare with the picure directly above), I think this was at the northern end of the site of the halt.

Ledbury Town Halt - 5/3/64

Ledbury Town Halt
The real end of the halt came on this March day in 1964 and my father was there to record it!  The villain of the piece was W. Matthews of Bromyard but I'm sure they had permission to do this.  The company is still in the waste disposal business today.

Greenway Halt from N - 25/9/63

Greenway Halt from north
Finally making it out of Ledbury, next stop on the line was Greenway Halt.  Greenway was, and remains, a tiny place, the kind of place that would never be served by a modern railway network.

Dymock Stn from Road Bridge - 25/9/63

Dymock Station from road bridge
Sadly, this is as far as my father went in exploring the line.  However, this is a super picture of Dymock Station looking south towards Gloucester.  At the time, goods sevices continued to Dymock and this is clear from the state of the lines.  A signal box can just be seen to the upper right of this view.

Dymock Stn from S - 25/9/63

Dymock Station from south
The final picture in the sequence is also a cracker and shows how the line really did end at Dymock, clearly illustrated by the barriers near the road bridge.  The old station building is fenced off and starting to decay,  Sadly, the building has not survived into the 21st century.