What it Looks Like Today: Bampton to Holmingham Farm and 6 Bridges
If you look on a map and trace the line from Bampton Station to Holmingham Farm you may or may not notice,depending on the map you use and how closely you study it,that there are several bridges along this short stretch.In fact,quite surprisingly,there are six bridges.
What is perhaps more surprising,is that most of the people who travel past them and in one case over it,don't have a clue that they are there at all.Having said that one of the bridges is no longer there,but the ruins are clearly visible.
With all of that buzzing around my head and the maps and locations in the main memorized,I set off with my boy Camlin to find all the bridges.Due to the wet weather at the time and my boy's tired little legs,we didn't find all the bridges on the first trip,so I made a second trip,this time with Christine and on this trip we found all the bridges we had missed.The pictures are therefore a collection of the two trips.
I don't have any idea about the names of the bridges or even if they all had names,if you know please contact me and tell me,but for clarity I have labelled them 1 to 6 with 1 being the closest to Bampton and 6 being the furthest away.The names that I know or think that I know,I have put in brackets.
Bridge 1 (Tucking Mill Bridge)
In the past,if you were going along the road out of Bampton towards The Exeter Inn and Tiverton and you looked to your right,you would have been able to see the line and the trains that puffed along it.Today all you you can see is an over grown jungle,but you can still make out the line if you look closely.It is in this jungle that our first bridge lies.
Unless you know that this bridge is here,you most likely would't spot it and on my first visit,I didn't find it either.Right at the end of the field,it looks like a dead end,but if you go to the left and through the thick clump of Himalayan Balsam,you will get a view of the bridge.As with all the bridges,this one was built to last and it seems a real shame that it is in such an over grown state.I wonder if it started to collapse would anyone try to save it or would it just be allowed to be lost?
Anyway,in order to get a decent view we had to wade across the river here,but I was determined to get a closer look,so some squelching shoes was the price that had to be paid.The top of the bridge is densely blocked with nettles and brambles,so we could only get pictures from the side.
Looking back towards Bampton Station you can still clearly see the raised bank that the track once laid on.After this we then clambered our way back across the river,through the balsam and back into the field.
There is no real sign that the track ever ran through the field,but there is a wall on the side of the river,that I am fairly sure was part of the railway,but I do not know that for sure.
When you walk up past this wall and look across the field at a diagonal,you can line up Bridge 1 with our next bridge,you guessed it,Bridge 2.
1906 Map showing Bridge 1 or Tucking Mill Bridge