Tuesday, 28 June 2016

More railway related ramblings...

Another day off today. JP and Mum fancied going for a drive again, so whizzed over to Ampleforth Abbey, for snacks. I had a very pleasant toastie, and they both had teacakes - after, of course, having stopped in Helmsley for a Chelsea bun for JP. It's the rules.

Coxwold signalbox
I had my Bartholemews touring map (circa 1933) on hand to ask as a satnav,so after drinking about 62 cups of tea, I directed us to the old railway station at Coxwold, a couple of miles west, on what was formerly the line between Malton and Thirsk. It has a signal box, nicely restored as somebody's shed, with a couple of tail-lamps in the window, and a small bungalow-type station building...

From there, the ancient map (and I) directed us past the entrance to Newburgh Priory (some sort of stately home, not open on a Tuesday) and its associated topiary and lake, along some windy narrow lanes - very good array of roadkill, towards the next station on the line - Husthwaite Gate (the last before the junction with the East Coast Main Line).

Platform foundations
After quite a while circumnavigating the village of Husthwaite - we passed the church at least four times - due to the vagaries of 1930s cartography, I eventually found a place with 4G so I could locate us on Google Maps. Turns out we should have turned into High Street, rather than Low Street. Oops.

Husthwaite Gate station was an odd one. The main building was separated from the platform by a level crossing. The platform has now been demolished, but the foundations remain, alongside a neatly strimmed public footpath on the trackbed leading back towards Coxwold.

The station building has been tastefully extended over the years - it closed to passengers in the 1950s, before closing completely in 1963 - and is now a private house. The station yard is a camp site, and some of the old outbuildings are used as the site Reception. It's all very pleasant. Quite remote, but very floral. They sell strawberries and eggs, and have an honesty cafe out the back.

Husthwaite Gate
I've been to an honesty cafe before, at Naburn (just south of York) but this was a vast improvement. The Naburn one was somewhat grubby, with a hippyish atmosphere, but this was like walking into a page of Country Living magazine. Very tasteful paintwork, candles and stuff on sale, and a good array of teas and things. And to JP's delight they even had a serve-yourself pick n mix counter! Bought him 20 pence worth of flying saucers and foam shrimps. 

They also had WiFi. Coxwold's station was niggling at the back of my mind. The single storey building just didn't seem quite right to me, so I had a look on Disused Stations, and my fears were confirmed. That was merely a crossing-keeper's cottage! Bah!

All was not lost though. Mum suggested I could walk back along the old line, and they'd drive and meet me there. Splendid.

The weather was still nice and warm, if a little overcast, so I strode off into the countryside. The path isn't hugely exciting - just a grass strip between hedgerows. The only feature of note was a bridge were trains used to pass over a farm track, It offered views of grass, and a couple of horses.

Suddenly (how dramatic) there was a ridiculously heavy rain shower. Luckily I was under a tree when it passed over, so it merely resulted in me seriously needing a piss, rather than getting soaked to the skin. It was then just a few minuted walk back to Coxwold's actual station buildings, hidden away round the back of a row of pretty stone cottages. It too is now someone's house, but their gate was open so I confidently wandered into the middle of their drive, and took the required photo, and here it is:
Coxwold - excuse the wet hair

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