The Old Station
Earlier there had been other major outdoor improvements. After the 1963 closure, the railway line and its associated stations gradually developed a general air of dilapidation. The line and stations had been deserted and many of the bridges, including the one at Sandford, had been blown up. People began walking the line and others started buying or leasing parts. Eventually, these different demands led to the formation in 1977 of the Cheddar Valley Railway Working Group, soon to become the Winscombe Parish Railway Walk Society and then the Cheddar Valley Railway Walk Society.
This group persuaded Woodspring District Council to buy the remaining land with its track, though not the stations. The Strawberry Line Path is now managed by North Somerset District Council in co-operation with the Cheddar Valley Railway Walk Society and includes a permissive path. In 1996 the Railway Walk was designated 'A Local Nature Reserve'. Later, North Somerset Council created a cycleway south from the recreation ground along the disused track to the A38 and beyond. It is possible to cycle from the station to Cheddar mostly on the track: perhaps one day it may be possible to cycle on the track to Wells. The path has been upgraded northwards through Sandford and Yatton and, perhaps one day, to Clevedon. After much collective effort the result is for all to see: a linear asset that will forever be shared and enjoyed by several local parishes and become part of the Sustrans Cycle Network.
But, what of old Winscombe Station? Yet another group had its eyes fixed firmly there! The Millennium Green Group, later to become the 'Winscombe and Sandford Millennium Green Trust' came into existence in 1997 with a plan to bring the derelict station site back into community use as a celebration of the new millennium. The community-backed proposal formulated by this group for the station and its immediate surrounds was one of the few accepted in the national 'Millennium Green Scheme'. Charitable status, obtained in 1998, was needed so that the group could raise funds, acquire, hold and regenerate the area already designated a site 'of County Importance for Conservation'. The Trust is responsible for site maintenance and management with help from North Somerset Council in respect of the Strawberry Line path which passes through what has now become the Old Station Millennium Green.
The success of this group and the product of their hard physical efforts can be described, without exaggeration, as phenomenal. The results can easily be judged by a stroll along the line! Wherever did all these ideas come from? But, of course, the task continues and additional support from villagers, old or new, is always appreciated. Why not lend a hand?
Near Ilex Lane, just off Sandford Road, there is a section of land which is owned and maintained by Winscombe and Sandford Parish Council. The area includes a cemetery, with a non-denominational area. Details of which can be obtained from the Parish Clerk. At Ilex Lane there are also several allotments which are rented out to parishioners, though the waiting list for those hoping to acquire land on which to grow their own fruits and vegetables is fairly long.
So, what should reading this have told you? We feel that we belong to an active village that is prepared to 'roll up its sleeves and help out'
. So, whether you are already living here, have just arrived or are thinking of moving here, do join in and enjoy being part of our thriving community.