Mystery Bridge

Mystery Bridge,  Forest of Dean

Mystery Bridge, Forest of Dean


This structure is on the disused Severn and Wye Valley Railway. It is on the approach to the site of Drybrook Road Station in the east from Serridge Junction in the west, it appears to have no obvious purpose: leading from nowhere in the north, to a drop at the south end.

I have passed this ‘Mystery Bridge’ many times on my own and with family and friends. Its purpose remained an enigma to me. Then my son came up with the idea that it might be protecting the track from the Trafalgar Tip.

This turned out to be its real purpose, as I found out when I re-read H. W. Parr’s book “The Severn and Wye Valley Railway”.

Here is the relevant piece of text.  (2013 – EH)

The route curves on an embankment through the forest, over the Cannop Brook, with glimpses of the Lydbrook line at a higher level. Approaching Serridge Jcn (16 miles 33 chains), Crown siding passed through a gate, to a small wharf; laid in 1903 for loading Crown timber, it fell out of use about 1952. To the north, the vast Trafalgar tip is clothed with conifers, and surmounted by a fire observation post.

Beyond Serridge Jcn the single line was in a cutting, with the Trafalgar tip an ever-increasing menace. In 1887 a serious slip occurred, and a retaining wall, with a buttress over the line, was built in 1904. The first connection to Trafalgar was a loop on the main line with two sidings into the colliery. Beyond, on the down side, a gate marks the later (1890) connection to Trafalgar, a 15-chain siding to the screens.

At Drybrook Road station (17 miles 32 chains), in a charming setting, the west connection of the loop to the main line was a double slip so that Trafalgar traffic could run direct to Bilson Jcn or on to the Mineral Loop. The course falls past a connection to Crump Meadow Colliery, to Laymoor Jcn (17 miles 69 chains), worked by a ground frame, and the site of Bilson platform (up side). Immediately beyond, the Trafalgar Tramway crossed on the level en route to Bilson Yard, the S & W curving to its triangular junction with the GWR Churchway branch. The tramway crossing was closed in 1890, and in 1900 Laymoor Jcn came into being, with the extension into Cinderford.

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If you enjoyed this and want to find more Forest of Dean mysteries and oddities, click on this link:

Forest of Dean Miscellany

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