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Bodmin and Wenford + other Cornish lines

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Monkey Magic, May 4, 2019.

  1. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Member

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    As there doesn’t seem to be a thread for the Bodmin and Wenford.

    We’ve got a family trip to North Cornwall booked for August. I am hoping to squeeze in a trip on the line. I am struggling a bit with the timetable. So a few questions for the hive mind:

    Is the busiest timetable one or two trains in service?

    On lines like the SVR there are good stations to take a break at ie Highley etc. As we will be with a toddler, it seems sensible to take a break somewhere - if you were breaking a journey with a toddler and non-railway enthusiasts where would you break it? Any good activity, pub or food recommendations welcome.

    Also, considering a visit to the Launceston Steam railway - so any thoughts on additional places to go would be welcome.

    I am figuring that Helston is probably too far and I think three train rides on a 1 week break is pushing my luck :) or if you could pick two of three which would you go for?

    Any other suggestions for North Cornwall welcome.
     
  2. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator

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    Launceston has a great cafe and a farm
    And activity park at the new mills end (note additional cost)
     
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  3. Glenmutchkin

    Glenmutchkin New Member

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    Bodmin and Wenford is a Y shaped line so you effectively do two out and back trips from Bodmin to two different termini. As I remember most of the facilities are at Bodmin.

    Launceston is definitely worth a visit.
     
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  4. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator

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    Boscarne junction gives access to the camel trail which is nice for a walk ., colesloggitt halt gives access to cardinham woods
     
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  5. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Member

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    Just out of interest is the Well Tank a high days and holidays loco or is it in regular use? What is the favoured motive power?
     
  6. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    In August I suspect the 4247 due to the loadings and the steep gradients.
     
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  7. Daddsie71b

    Daddsie71b Member Friend

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    Personally, Visit Bodmin general, enjoy the cafe and the atmosphere, buy something in the shop, but don't bother travelling.

    My experience last year was an overgrown line and very lightly worked engines considering the gradient. Maximum speed was around 12mph

    Sorry B&W people.
     
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  8. Forestpines

    Forestpines Well-Known Member

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    When I last visited the B&W it was in 2014 with two 10-month-olds, and I have to say the entire town seemed to be pretty lacking in what felt like suitable facilities for us - we ended up eating in Sainsbury's because we walked around the whole town without finding anywhere else definitely suitable (it didn't look as if our buggy was likely to fit inside the station café)

    As I recall there's a cafe in the former signalbox at Bodmin Parkway, but Boscarne Jn had no facilities.

    It's a lovely little railway but - unless you do want to walk along part of the Camel Trail - there is not that much to do as a break of journey
     
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  9. Forestpines

    Forestpines Well-Known Member

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    (And if you fancy something else to do that satisfies the "not railways again please!" viewpoint but is similarly interesting, then the National Trust has a stationary mining beam engine in working order at Levant Mine out near St Just; or there's the telegraphy museum at Porthcurno)
     
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  10. Breva

    Breva Member

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    We did the whole ride (both sides of the 'Y') starting from Bodmin. Break of journey was at Bodmin Parkway (junction with the main line) which we enjoyed as we had a nice snack and tea in the signal box, converted to a cafe and run by an enterprising Chinese lady. You get a nice view of the main line activity outside, and a China clay train passed in front of us.

    We then walked to Lanhydrock house, a very pleasant walk down the river valley. Due to lack of time we didn't go in, but did enjoy tea and cake on the terrace of their tea room, outside the 'paywall' as it were. Then walked back to Bodmin Parkway.

    We enjoyed our day on the Bodmin & Wenford. The climb from Parkway back up to Bodmin produces a fine sound from the engine. Bodmin station has a good historic feel. Well done, guys!

    IMG_2266.JPG
    Train arriving at Parkway, at the bottom of the incline to Bodmin.

    IMG_2264.JPG
    One of the more unusual cafes that we have frequented, and we liked it :)
     
  11. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    I don't share Daddsie71B's opinion of the Bodmin & Wenford and think it is a good day out Although I've only ever started my day from Bodmin General, I suggest that a good itinerary would be to start from Bodmin Parkway and take the train from there to Boscarne Junction via Bodmin. From there it is not too far to walk along the Camel Trail to the Borough Arms where you can get something to eat before retracing your steps. If you don't want a pub lunch there are cafe's in the other direction along the trail. The timetable on the BWR website is absolutely horrendous to follow but train times appear to allow you to do this without rushing.
    The Launceston Steam Railway is well worth a visit. I found them to be very friendly and welcoming, even to the extent of being invited for a footplate trip (which I declined as that would have left SWMBO on her own:()
    I found Bodmin Jail an interesting non-railway place to visit but appreciate that it might not be for everyone.
     
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  12. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Member

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    Two 10 month olds :eek:

    I think Totnes signalbox is also a cafe as well.

    Thank you all for the tips.

    Anyone visited Helston?
     
  13. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    Totnes SB is a small cafe and has been for many years. Nice little place to watch the world go by. ;)
     
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  14. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    On a railtour some years ago, there was an option to travel on the Bodmin Raiilway but we were due to arrive back an hour before our train, so one our stewards asked the owner if she would stay open for a further hour which she did, and encouraged the passengers to purchase something. She had a long queue of customers and every seat was taken. Well worth a visit.
     
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  15. PC5020

    PC5020 New Member

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    B&W has the problem that if you wish to arrive by mainline train you have a shorten visit. But you can get a discount if you book both the "real" railway ticket with the B&W
    ticket at the "real, ie, GWR" ticket office before you go.
    Keep in mind that Kernow is not up to the level of the home counties or even the midlands in terms of money and developed preserved railways.
     
  16. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Yes. More one for the dedicated enthusiast than for families. It is very reminiscent of the early days of preservation; a pioneering spirit with rides in a brake van, probably behind a diesel. Not too much to see.
     
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  17. Breva

    Breva Member

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    One could visit a young railway just to support them :) We were all there once.
     
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  18. Kingscross

    Kingscross New Member

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    The Camel Trail itself is well worth doing as a family - hire bikes in Padstow or Wadebridge, with maybe a tag-along or a trailer for the toddler. The most scenic bit is Padstow to Wadebridge along the estuary, but Wadebridge to Boscarne is also very pretty. You could combine with a trip on the Bodmin & Wenford - if your family are up for a full day, I'd cycle Padstow to Boscarne, pick up the train, then at Bodmin Parkway another quick cycle up the carriage drive to Lanhydrock, which is lovely and also traffic free. Then repeat in reverse!

    Check opening times with Launceston - I tried to call in yesterday and was suprised to find it shut on Bank Holiday Monday. The Lappa Valley Railway near Newquay is also good for the kids.

    The National Rail branch lines of Cornwall are beautiful, too. Try parking in Liskeard and taking the train to Looe for the afternoon?
     
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  19. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Part of the furniture

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    Did that a couple of years back on a sunny day and can't recommend it enough, fantastic views and value for money too.
     
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  20. D8568

    D8568 New Member

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    I would recommend this as well. Also, if you have the time to spare, I would suggest taking the bus from Looe to Polperro. Polperro is a tiny fishing village, it's a bit touristy but more charming and picturesque than Looe in my opinion.
     
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