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The Interpretation board at the Kings Seats marks the starting point of the route 3 trail designed to highlight details of the former Bridgwater Branch railway and the Sustrans path. The route is coloured RED.
The Railway Trail
The Interpretation board on the former Bridgwater Railway marks the starting point of the Railway trail designed to highlight the main features in the vicinity. The route is coloured red.
You are at the board located at The King’s Seats where the trail begins.
Following the cycle path walk away from Bawdrip village and as you pass through the cutting, and before you reach the waterfall and Bridge No. 305 carrying the A39 road over the railway, give a thought to the railway worker, George Chilwell, who died in an accident here in August 1888 whilst digging out that cutting.
Retrace your steps walking towards Bawdrip and along Eastside Lane. After passing the top of the incline try to visualise Bawdrip Halt next to the Parish Hall on your right. A little further on notice the huge stone and brick retaining wall beside the road on your right.
Follow the road straight on and find your way to Bridge No. 306. Walk under the bridge and follow the bridle path to the left (Little Wall Lane). After several hundred yards you will discover the Steps over the line connecting the route to Shaws Orchard and back into the village.
TAKE CARE when walking back into the centre of the village.
You have now reached the end of the railway Trail
THE BRIDGWATER RAILWAY 1890-1954
Railway construction began in April 1888 and it opened on Monday, 21st July 1890. The operating company was the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway (SDJR), jointly owned by the Midland Railway and the London & South Western Railway. The line was just over 7 miles (11km) long. It ran from what was then Bridgwater Station, now part of Sainsbury’s car park, and joined the Glastonbury to Burnham branch line at Edington Junction near Burtle. It was not until 33 years after opening that Bawdrip Halt was created in 1923 which was located adjacent to the Parish Hall. It was a little over 3 miles (5km) from where you are standing now to Bridgwater Station (6-8 minutes by train). In the other direction, to Edington Junction, it took around 11-14 minutes for the 4 mile (6km) journey, including a stop at Cossington Station.
Passenger trains, freight trains and sometimes ‘mixed’ trains used the line. Different engines ran along the line over the years; different drivers, firemen and guards worked the line. The Permanent Way staff maintained the railway and kept the banks free of vegetation, during the Second World War a team of women fulfilled this role.
The line was finally closed in 1954 and dismantling took place from October 1955. Parts of the line can still be explored including this section of SUSTRANS cycle path which goes along the old track bed in a northerly direction towards Cossington.