What it Looks Like Today: Cove Halt
Cove Halt was built in the 1920's to serve the small village of Cove and the surrounding farms.It is probably most famous for it's iron pagoda,the only one on the line,that is now at Doniford Halt on the West Somerset Railway.Cove Halt also had a small siding,that despite the nearby quarry works,was rarely used,the quarry quite madly in my opinion,preferring to send all it's freight by road.Cove Halt also had a manned level crossing,one of five on the Exe Valley Line.
The old Keeper's Cottage has long been coverted into a private house,but by a stroke of good fortune,the current owner Sarah,is also a friend of Christine,so we were able to arrange a visit.After a short drive to Cove we parked up and found Sarah who showed us around.
It is immediately clear when looking at the cottage,that it is not in it's original state and that extensions have been added.Although to me this is a shame,I do understand that for old buildings to survive,they have to be usable for people today.
Click on the buttons to switch between what it used to look like and what it looks like today
Despite the obvious modern aditions to the cottage,many of the old features still remain,not least the old wooden signal box.If you had read the previous article,"What it Looks Like Today:Bampton to Lower Lodfin Crossing",you would know that these wooden signal boxes were where the Crossing Keeper would spend most of their time.
Crossing Keepers were usually the wives of signalmen,who mainly took on the position,as the cottage came rent free with the job.Although loud bells were usually attached to the outsides of these cottages to alert the Keeper of coming trains,the Keeper could never really stray to far from the cottage and hence the keeper was more or less tied to the cottage,making everyday things like shopping a bit of a problem.
At a first glance,the signal box looks in okay condition,but take a closer look and you will see that it has some problems.The paintwork on it is badly chipping,revealing the black paint that a previous owner had painted it.Sarah had thought that maybe black was the original colour and that's why that owner had painted it black,but in all the pictures that I have seen of these boxes they are white.
Maybe the previous owner painted it black and white to resemble the black and white that railway lines were on old maps,but that's just me speculating.When Sarah bought the house,the signal box had been freshly painted all white,but because the old paint was not removed first,all the paint is now flaking off.
Worse still and Sarah's main concern,is that a lot of the wood is now starting to rot and is soft and spongy to the touch and without some specialist work to prevent this continuing,it is possible that the signal box may become beyond repair.Sarah is very keen and interested in the railway and has made every effort to preserve what she can,but she is not an expert on preserving old buildings and does not have a bottomless pit of money to spend on it,so if anyone has any expertise in this field or can help in anyway,please contact me and I will pass on your details to her.