Abandoned Railways: Ashdon Halt Station

Exterior of Ashdon Halt railway carriage taken in April 2019

I find there is something intensely romantic about an abandoned railways and Ashdon Halt Station is no different. Once built to service a thriving community in many areas, trains (in some parts) have been superseded by the quicker, more convenient and affordable motor car. Now there are lots of stations and lines across the country that have either been removed completely, made into something new, or fallen into disrepair. But if you look close enough, evidence of this ancient industrial legacy still survives under our noses.

I had never heard of Ashdon Halt Station before my visit to Ashdon Church, where one of the churchwardens piqued my interest. He told me about an abandoned carriage on the side of a dilapidated platform. Despite not really knowing the area, I set off in a general direction across a field. After a quick online search I found this handy website and using my trusty OS maps app I was determined to find the old Ashdon Halt Station!

A (Very) Brief History of the Line.

The line of the station between Audley End and Bartlow with other station lines for reference. Taken from Disused Railways website.
The line of the station between Audley End and Bartlow with other station lines for reference. Taken from Disused Stations website.

In 1911 a line was opened from Audley End, through Saffron Walden, Acrow and Ashdon, ending at Bartlow. Although there had been a high demand in the late 1880s for this line, the service actually had poor numbers and eventually closed in 1964.

Ashdon Halt Station then and now

When the station was in use it already had a quaint historical appeal. The waiting room had been fashioned out of an old Victorian carriage, dating to around 1883. In 1916 the carriage was stripped out, fitted with wooden benches and positioned on the platform edge. Interestingly the platform was not staffed which meant that passengers boarding at Ashdon had to buy their ticket retrospectively where they alighted!

Exterior of Ashdon Halt station in the late 1950s. Copyright John Mann, taken from www.disusedstations.org.uk
Exterior of Ashdon Halt station in the late 1950s. Copyright John Mann, taken from the Disused Stations website. Note the open door in the centre is actually an old shed door. All the original ones had been secured closed.

Now the carriage is run-down, but cared for (perhaps a local volunteer group?). All of the glass is missing and the floorboards inside are broken and unstable. The door has been removed but a large hinge survives indicating where it was once attached. It has a lovely, dilapidated, mossy appeal to it. The railway line itself is long gone and grass and hedges have grown up where it once was.

The interior of Ashdon Halt Carriage taken in April 2019

If you fancy visiting this lovely piece of history yourself, follow the link to a map below. Note that the carriage itself is on the other side of a hedge so do make sure you go far enough down the track and keep your eyes peeled!

Map of the walk from the All Saints Church Car Park to Ashdon Halt Carriage Station.
Park in the church car park (be sure to pay them a visit too), turn left out of the church entrance onto church hill and then right onto Fallowden Lane. Walk for a few minutes past a farm on the left until the lane bears left. The carriage is behind the hedge.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1VyohzKV86QnBv2VsFmMlqp4OoWsdApXi&usp=sharing

Follow me on more of my adventures. How about reading about my discoveries in Salle Church, Norfolk?

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