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Saturday, 23 April 2016

Blackmore Park Road

On its way south from the Shuttlefast Lane site and Malvern Hanley Road Station, the Malvern-Ashchurch branch crossed Blackmore Park Road, the main highway connecting Malvern and the small village of Welland. The crossing itself was made by a flat road bridge which rose over a shallow railway cutting running diagonally beneath.


Today, the section is significantly altered, with much of the cutting having been filled in and the road bridge removed completely. Nevetheless, the railway cutting is still very visible thanks to the tell-tale tree line which runs by the three houses which now flank the old railway, and the tops of the cutting also remain exposed. Special thanks to Dave and Shirley for letting me into their garden to photograph this section, and to their neighbours Ken, Jacky, Alan and Pat for also letting me on to their property.


This section of line is a little difficult to piece together, consisting as it does of three large gardens. We start at the gate on the public footpath which leads from Blackmore Park Road over to Shuttlefast Lane. This leads to our first garden, where the old cutting is still visible, if a little shallower than it was originally:


The most interesting aspect of this part of the line is this old permanent way hut, now in use as a garden shed. The shed is marked on old Ordnance Survey maps and so must have been reasonably important. Note the hole on the back which is where the stovepipe chimney used to enter the building.

 

Popping over the fence into the next garden, the tree line is still visible on the right as we walk away from Malvern towards Blackmore Park Road. The road is on the other side of this garden.


The Bridge


The bridge itself featured a middle support which separated the two rails of the Midland line, as the picture below shows. Unfortunately, the extensive way in which the lie of the land has been altered makes taking matching shots all but impossible, but I've given it a go!



The shot below was taken from a little closer and shows the brickwork more clearly. The difference in height between the road and the railway is hard to imagine: today, you can step from the cutting up onto the road with no difficulty.

'Upton on Severn - Malvern, Bridge near Blackmore Crossroads, Malvern Wells'
The only shot I have managed to find off the bridge is this one from John Mudge, who captured the old cutting looking towards Malvern. Note that this shot is from 1965, while the above shots are from 1957: the tracks have been lifted in the meantime.

'Old Track Bed at Hanley Road, Malvern Wells, Taken from Overbridge', 30th Aug., 1965.
A loose match from where the bridge once stood: obviously the elevations are all wrong!
The rough location of the bridge - the gardens are over the right hedge.

Across the Road


Crossing over the road, the railway line continues in a cutting that runs alongside a house named Veeda Glenta. There is not a huge amount to see here, but the old railway continues in a straight line eastwards towards Upton, flanked by the same tree line as we saw on the other side of the road.

'Tewkesbury and Malvern Railway - Malvern Wells (Hanley Road) Distant Signal, February 1954'
A similar angle in 2016.

Beyond this point, the path has become seriously overgrown with brambles, making the next couple of hundred yards pretty difficult going. This only occupies a short section of the line though, and in all honesty there isn't a lot to see, apart from an original milepost driven into the bank.


A mile post in the undergrowth.
An assault of green looking west...
...and east.

Back Towards Malvern


These shots show the same path in reverse. It was a beautiful morning to take some photographs, so I've included these pictures just to show what the approach to Blackmore Park Road bridge would have looked like. The last picture shows where the cutting has been artificially filled to make it good with the lowered roadway.

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