The Lazy Toad pub is a nice little spot, not like a country pub, but bright and clean and we sat under a picture of Elvis that seemed a bit out of place. The landlady was polite and friendly and I ordered myself a pint of Cornish lager,a half of Brampford beer(although not actually from Brampford) for Christine and pork pies for us both. The Kernow was great and just the refreshment I needed, Christine said the her beer was nice but a bit watery and the pies served with chutney and mustard were like a pie you might get from Waitrose or M&S.Review over.
After getting directions from the landlady we set off to find Brampford Speke Station/Halt.Brampford Speke is a lovely little place, full of posh looking houses, but has a quietness that reminded me of the countryside of old.The route down to the old station isn't clearly marked and we did go the wrong way at first despite the directions given, but if you go past the school, down the lane past the dog poo bins you are on the right track. A short walk down this hill, the foot bridge across to the station comes into view. It seems a bit strange that a station would be positioned across a river and almost isolated from the actual village it was meant to serve and maybe this is one of the factors in why it became obsolete.
Brampford Speke Station opened in 1885, but with the opening of the new Stoke Canon Station in 1894 Brampford Speke Station was due to be closed and would have been until the local people protested to G.W.R who agreed to keep the station open. As with Upexe, passenger numbers dropped and in 1923 Brampford Speke was downgraded to a halt and the buildings were converted to housing.The halt was closed in 1963 to passengers along with the rest of the line, although freight from the nearby mill at Thorverton continued to pass through until 1966.
The station buildings are partially hidden by hedges and trees, but can still be seen along with the Station Master's House. From here there is a footpath that runs all the way to Stoke Canon Station. This is a lovely stretch of the route that moves away from the Exe across open farmland. Be advised that if you want to take your bikes as we did, you will have to watch out for walkers and there are several gates that you will have to have the strength to lift your bikes over. There are several multiple arched bridges along this way ,crossing over tributaries of the Exe that look like they are struggling under the weight of modern farming methods. The path bends towards Stoke Canon Station, but near the end of the path the Exe Valley Railway actually curved away from the path, to the right, to where the old platform was. It is quite hard to trace where this went though.
Old map showing the line and where the footpath(fp) leaves the line that bends down to Stoke Canon.
After taking a few pics at Stoke Canon, we set off on the journey back to where we had started and after loading the bikes in our car we attempted to go and fullfill our promise of buying something in the Rufwell Inn. Unfortunately, by this time it had just gone 3 p.m. and the pub was shut which meant we were unable to buy anything as we had said we would. All in all this was a very pleasant bit of exploring with a total distance of just over 10 miles with no busy roads, that most people could probably do.Why not have a go, you could just walk it if you don't have bikes.
Interactive map showing the route we took. Click on the button to download the GPX file, if you have a fancy gizmo that can use them.
17 km, 03:59:38