30th May 2020
BAD NEWS ! My website hosting company is closing down on the 30th June 2020. This means that it is likely that the website may disappear for a while during reconstruction with a different provider and may never look the same again. Rest assured I will do everything in my power to keep it as close to the original as possible. Happily, the email address email@example.com is unaffected and I will continue to be contactable during this changeover period.
6th May 2020
Any regular visitors to the website will know that the selection of photos has remained largely unchanged for some years. Nothing wrong with that, as they’re all timeless classics, but you will soon notice new pages being added showing photos grouped by county. I will be steadily going through my vast archive of stills taken while making each film and adding them to these pages, but it might take a while ! Enjoy.
25th April 2020
Delighted again to have more exposure ! This time on something dear to my heart, a rock radio show ! With grateful thanks to Loz and Paul for organising this, may they live forever. If pounding rock music isn’t your thing then skim forwards to around the 45 minute mark:
14th April 2020
Delighted to have some press coverage for Dumpman Films in recent times:
Every little helps as they say.
15th March 2020
Plans for filming around Sidmouth and Exmouth are on hold for now in the light of the Corona virus.
Dumpman Films can still be bought by emailing direct to firstname.lastname@example.org, but the shop on ebay will only list some of the titles (to save money). Any enquiries sent to the email address email@example.com will be answered and I’d be glad to hear from you, ALL titles listed in the film list are available when you deal direct. Stay safe and good luck through these terrible times.
18th February 2020
After a lengthy break, plans are afoot for filming in Devon this coming Spring. Disused branches serving Exmouth and Sidmouth are in the planning stage and the Raleigh Chopper is getting ready to ride again, how very exciting !
A very successful day of filming at Bexhill West Station. I was accompanied by a man named Simon Allen who masterminded and undertook the restoration of the clock on top of the station building. The film shows the complete journey through the building and rafters to get up into the clock tower and Simon explains the restoration and workings.
Heading to Bexhill West Station to do some filming this coming Wednesday, more specifically the clock tower and its workings, watch this space for details.
The new titles are now available (see below), just putting the finishing touches to the Brookwood one, sorry for the slight delay.
Already planning next year’s excursion !
Following this year’s hugely successful filming trip, Dumpman Films will soon be releasing the following titles:
- Alton to Basingstoke
- Brookwood Necropolis Railway
- Ash Junction to Tongham
Details will be released here and elsewhere as soon as they are edited and ready for despatch, Dumpman Films rides again !
A superbly successful few days retracing the journey between Alton and Basingstoke, with access to splendid views at Cliddesden (where the classic Will Hay film Oh ! Mr Porter ! from 1937 was shot), with a warm welcome from the landowners. Straightforward access to Herriard station site and Alton Park have also added to the fun, with Bentworth and Lasham platform remains being peered at through the fence.
A further visit to Brookwood cemetery to view the short Necropolis branch has been achieved today.
Dumpman films is cooking ! Release dates to follow, probably early May.
Setting off for some more filming towards the end of this month and aiming to capture:
- Alton to Basingstoke
- Farnham Junction to Ash Green
- Brookwood Necropolis line
Watch this space for more detail in the coming weeks.
28th January 2019
Dumpman Films is branching out a bit this year. You will now be able to buy your favourite railway views on a variety of household items !
If you visit www.redbubble.com and put in a search for “dumpman” you will probably see a load of coffee mugs with favourite railway views emblazoned on them. Click on the menu on the left hand side of your screen for t shirts, duvet covers, phone covers, posters, back packs, ladies attire, clocks and goodness what else, all with the various designs printed on. Many items available in a wide variety of colours of your choice.
All these images are photos that I’ve taken over the years while making Dumpman Films and visiting all the places featured in all the many dvds. So, if you’ve always longed to have a sweatshirt, hoodie or a dress decorated with a picture of Cinder Hill Tunnel, Brighton’s West Pier or Cannington Road viaduct on the Lyme Regis branch line, now you can !
New images are being constantly added. Not only that, if you have an image you want added then just get in touch.
Travelling to Bangor for a stag do and hoping to explore the Bethesda branch line on the Chopper later today. I know there’s a tunnel and a viaduct to explore, what more could a man want ?
Also to announce that the next Dumpman Film will most probably be Alton to Basingstoke, to be worked on early in 2019.
The final recently recorded Dumpman/Bald Explorer short is available today, featuring a a wander around Hellingly station on the Cuckoo Line. Use this link to view:
Today another Dumpman/Bald Explorer collaboration becomes available, with a quick explore of Argos Hill tunnel on the Cuckoo Line, just north of Mayfield. Use this link to view:
Dumpman and the Bald Explorer had a day working together recently and visited Bexhill West station, you can see the results by copying and pasting these links into your browser:
More to follow next week.
Further adventures in early July planned with the Bald Explorer, watch this space !
Delighted to have been invited on the Bald Explorer’s live show this evening, which you can watch on You tube by clicking on this link:
New title “The Sprat and Winkle Line” now available, feel free to email for details, the catalogue and price list pages on the website will be updated shortly. As usual, it is available through ebay now if you prefer that route.
Steaming through the Test Valley on the rusty, trusty Raleigh Chopper.Very enjoyable visits to stations at Mottisfont, Horsebridge and Longparish, with Wherwell soon to follow. Hoping the weather holds out !
With plans in place to visit the Test Valley later this month, permission to visit stations at Mottisfont, Horsebridge, Wherwell and Longparish has been obtained, so getting excited !
19th January 2018
Continuing the ten year anniversary theme of the last few years, a brace of titles have again come of age. To celebrate their longevity, they will be available at reduced prices for the rest of this year:
- Uckfield to Lewes track bed explored 3 x dvd £9
- The disused railway of Lyminster 1 x dvd £5
- Midhurst to Chichester track bed explored 2 x dvd £9
- Midhurst to Pulborough track bed explored 2 x dvd £8
- Baystone bridge to Christ’s Hospital station 1 x dvd £5
- Hardham canal tunnel illuminated 1 x dvd £4
- Demolition of the Pullman works, Brighton 1 x dvd £4
Full detailed descriptions of these titles can be found in the catalogue pages. All anniversary offer prices from last year are also staying the same, for now. Titles are available on ebay or by emailing directly with your requests (preferred).
For those of you who enjoyed the Dumpman/Bald Explorer collaborations (available on You tube), there are expected to be more of these before the end of February. Enter “Dumpman Bald Explorer” on You tube to see the five shorts completed so far.
Watch this space for details of new Dumpman titles being cooked up later in 2018, with the much anticipated return of the Raleigh Chopper, doubtlessly clattering uninvited through someone’s back garden and hopefully disappearing speedily before being apprehended.
Meant to share the links to these last two collaborations with The Bald Explorer (Richard Vobes) which we completed last month, the first is Tunbridge Wells West station and nearby Grove tunnel and the second is at Hartfield. We hope to do some more of these jolly little excursions shortly, watch this space.
Delighted to be able to share another collaboration with The Bald Explorer (Richard Vobes), this time looking at Cinder Hill tunnel on a disused section of the Bluebell line, just south of the site of Newick and Chailey station. Click on the link:
Below are the two links to the You tube videos made by Richard Vobes (The Bald Explorer) which I was delighted to be involved in; the first at Christs Hospital and the second at Singleton:
I’ve had the pleasure of working with a chap called Richard Vobes, a multi talented fellow who runs a You tube channel, documenting his walks and explorations as The Bald Explorer. We felt we could complement each other by collaborating on a couple of railway walks. I will put up links to these documentary style short pieces when they become available, but if you Google the Bald Explorer you can see the sort of thing he gets up to, most entertaining.
Two new films available as from today:
Christchurch to Ringwood 2 dvds (1 hour 40 mins) £10
West Moors to Salisbury-Alderbury Junction 4 dvds (3 hours 45 mins) £13
Have just finished a very successful filming trip, basing myself in Ringwood. Lines completeted as hoped were the almost 8 mile Christchurch to Ringwood and nearly 20 miles West Moors to Salisbury (Alderbury Junction). Various landowners kindly allowed access, making both films a joy to shoot and allowing me to include some interesting views not normally seen.
I stayed in the wonderful Original White Hart in Ringwood, which was great and the staff who run it superb, thanks girls ! I was also helped out at short notice by being supplied a bike by The Pedal Monkey of Verwood, best place to find a good second hand bike in the area, has a huge stock and very friendly, Dumpman Films is proud to endorse them.
Editing will probably take two or three weeks so I hope to have them available around the middle of June, watch this space !
Time off work is booked, digs are booked, off to Hampshire and Wiltshire in the middle of May to film:
- West Moors to Salisbury
- Christchurch to Ringwood
Any time left over will be used to have a look at the Test Valley and explore possibilities for filming there (hopefully) later this year.
Also hoping to make a short film about the Brookwood Necropolis line in June.
More news as it comes.
25th January 2017
What with the success of celebrating Dumpman Films’ 10th anniversary last year, marked by selling titles that had come of age at a discount, it seemed like fun to continue the idea.
While 2006 was the start of Dumpman Films, 2007 was an incredibly busy year, spent hurtling around Sussex, recreating vast numbers of disused railway journeys at great speed to create a catalogue. No other year since then has seen that level of output.
Many of these titles appear quite rough and ready in comparison to latter day output, but they retain their popularity and remain the favourites of many. To celebrate their 10 years of entertaining folk, the following will be available for £5 each for the remainder of 2017:
- Brighton’s Kemp Town Branch Line
- Brighton’s Devils Dyke Railway
- Ardingly Branch Line
- Three Bridges to East Grinstead
- East Grinstead to Groombridge
- Guildford to Christs Hospital
- Christs Hospital to Shoreham
- Heathfield to Polegate
- Rye & Camber Tram/Rye Harbour Branch
- Disused Railway Tunnels of Sussex
- Volks Seagoing Tramway
- Hamsey Loop Line
- Views of Hellingly Mental Asylum
- Hellingly Hospital Branch Line
As usual, a full description of the content of each film can be seen here on the website. All titles are available directly, just email your requirements to firstname.lastname@example.org or find them on ebay if that is your preferred route. Fans of the Crowhurst to Bexhill West line may be interested in this; having filmed the entire line in 2009 (deliberately getting in there before the new road was built on the track bed), a return visit was made to take stills in 2015. In addition to taking stills all along the disused route, access was gained to the clock tower at Bexhill West Station. Legend has it that each railwayman that climbed the tower to set the clock, wrote his name and the date and sometimes even a few lines of verse. Anyone buying the Crowhurst to Bexhill West title will now also receive a free dvd rom that contains over 160 stills taken at this time, including numerous views inside the roof and clock tower of Bexhill West Station as well as elsewhere along the route. Two very short video clips are also included, one inside the clock tower and another driving along what used to be track bed approaching Sidley station site. This dvd rom is also available separately for £5, but needs to be played in a computer, not a normal dvd player that plugs in to your telly.My sincere thanks for all the support along the way. All being well, I will be back in touch in April or May to announce the release of another couple of titles filmed in Hampshire and Wiltshire.
Having revisited the Crowhurst to Bexhill West line last year, I decided to add a bonus disc for anyone buying the film from November 2016.
Apart from seeing numerous stills showing the construction of the Bexhill link road and how it relates to the old track bed, you also get to see what it looks like inside the clock tower at Bexhill West station. In the days of the railway, it became a tradition for railwaymen who climbed up into the loft and tower to write their name and the date when they were adjusting or attending to the clock. So in addition to seeing the clock workings and the various ladders and walkways they had to use to get up there, you also see vast numbers of ancient autographs, fascinating stuff. See the page called Film Catalogue 2 (near the top) for details.
This bonus disc is not designed to play in standalone dvd players (the one plugged into your telly), but it will work in a computer disc drive, more like a cd rom.
Finally managed to update the title/price list, although it still looks a bit chaotic, any questions feel free to ask !
Nice to see a thumper travelling the Ardingly branch line this last weekend, as part of celebrations for 175th anniversary of the railway coming to Haywards Heath. Numerous pictures have been uploaded to the Facebook page Disused Railways of Sussex.
Currently looking into making a film about the line that ran south from Salisbury in the direction of West Moors. This will most likely be tackled over Easter next year, along with other titles that have yet to be decided.
Delighted to announce two new titles:
- Hawkhurst Branch Line Explored
- Moretonhampstead to Bovey Tracey Explored
Full details to appear in the catalogue pages shortly. I’m having some trouble updating the price list, so scroll to the end of the page called Film Catalogue Part 3 and you will find all the detail you need.
Just finished a successful two week stint filming without illness (hoorah !). Week one involved retracing the Hawkhurst Branch Line and week two saw travelling the majority of the line between Mortonhampstead and Bovey Tracey.
A month or so will be needed to find time to go through all the footage, but I will announce availability as soon as I’m done.
As of today, the Westerham branch line dvd is now available. Find it on ebay or email dumpman1@Hotmail.co.uk for details. A description of the contents can be found at the bottom of the page called Film Catalogue Part 3.
Another great day of filming the Westerham branch line yesterday, including a trip along the M25 with a camera bolted to the roof the car to show the course of the track where it has been built over.
DUMPMAN FILMS 10TH ANNIVERSARY !The last ten years have been a delight and I am very grateful for all the support, especially for those who have been along for the ride since the start and buy everything I come up with. Good health and fair weather permitting, Dumpman Films will continue for another ten years and beyond, as there are many, many more disused railways that need to be explored and made available to a charming armchair audience. To mark the anniversary, the 8 dvd set, The Disused Railways of Sussex in 2006 will be marked down to £10 for the rest of this year. Being the first collection of the catalogue, it’s a pretty rough and ready production, but it did mark the start of something that appears to have enduring appeal. Anyone buying three or more of any of the titles in one transaction directly from me can expect the usual generous discounts.
Just had an excellent day of exploring and filming the Westerham branch line. Managed to get along the vast majority of the track bed and even found Brasted station site, which being right on the M25 was jolly noisy ! A bit more filming to do yet before completion, but hoping to have a short film out by the end of this month. Great to be back in the saddle !
28th January 2016
Gearing up to explore the Westerham branch line in the next few days, hoping for good weather !
Having visited some relatives near Thame yesterday, I decided it would be a good opportunity to check out the old GWR in that area. Had a look at the site and platforms at Thame’s original station (west of the new one) and walked along the railway footpath. Working west through a slightly more overgrown path, the trackbed can be followed a certain distance away from Thame, all ideas for future films ! Wish I’d had the bike with me.
Recently been exploring parts of the Westerham branch line, now largely subsumed by the M25, but not entirely. This will be back on the list for the next filming session, which is likely to be early next year.
Regulars will remember that I had planned on filming the Hawkhurst branch and Moretonhampstead branch earlier this year, but had to cancel due to health problems. Happy to report that health is fine now, so I’m making plans to have another crack at these in 2016.
Great fun to see the group Disused Railways of Sussex growing steadily on Facebook with many regular contributions. Despite the name, we discuss railways in many different locations and it is not limited to Sussex. Do join up if you are that way inclined.
Following the disappointment of having to cancel this Easter’s filming trip, I have been taking lots of stills of disused railway scenes around Sussex. These can be seen on Facebook in a well populated and convivial group called Disused Railways of Sussex, do join !
Both Devon and Kent trips have had to be cancelled due to ill health, will post some good news as soon as it appears.
Meanwhile, for those of you that like to browse my titles on ebay, you will find that the listings are steadily being updated to include a variety of photos, rather than just the one screen grab of years gone by.
Sadly, had to scrap week in Devon due to ill health, but this will be re-scheduled, hopefully for later in 2015. Still hoping to manage the Kent trip.
All set for this year’s filming trip, coming up in the next couple of weeks. First week will be in Devon and the second week in Kent, as detailed below. I hope to download some photos on to the Facebook page, Disused Railways of Sussex, as I go along.
Just hoping for generosity from the weather now !
24th January 2015
Happy to confirm that with time off booked from work around Easter, this year’s filming trip is coming together nicely. The first stop will be in Devon to try and recreate the journey between Mortonhampstead and Bovey Tracy (and maybe further south towards Newton Abbot if time permits).
The second part will be to try and recreate some journeys in Kent. More information as it becomes available.
My grateful thanks for all the support this year, I assure you Dumpman Films will be back in 2015 with some new offerings.
Another two all new films are available from today:
Abbotsbury to Upwey Junction track bed tour 2014
The Weymouth Quay Line travelled 2014
This completes the recently filmed material from the trip to Devon and Dorset. I’ll have to start planning another one now ! The Hawkhurst Branch needs looking at…
Two all new films are available from today:
West Bay to Maiden Newton track bed tour 2014
Easton to Weymouth track bed tour 2014
These are now on ebay if that is your preferred route or you can eamil me direct for information on obtaining them if you wish.
See the end of the page called Film Catalogue Part 3 for details of all these new titles or by all means email me with any questions you may have.
An all new film is available from today:
Lyme Regis to Axminster track bed tour 2014
It is now available through ebay for those of you who prefer that route or you can email me and I will deal with you directly. Full descriptions will follow shortly in the Film Catalogue pages as usual.
I am still working on the edits for a further three full length films and one short one.
Watch this space !
Finally headed back towards Sussex today after a couple of week’s good filming; enough to make four big titles and one small one, watch this space ! I also found time to pop into Hurn station, which lies on the course of the old Ringwood to Christchurch line. Now known as the Avon Causeway Hotel, I was greeted by charming chap who has just taken it over and has great plans for renovation, while maintaining the railway based charm of the place. Well worth a visit.
I will be putting some more stills up on the website presently, but for quicker access to them and much more, for those of you on Facebook, have a look at a group called Disused Railways of Sussex.
I did finally manage to get access to the very private and hotly defended Portland Port. I was somewhat restricted on what I was allowed to film, but managed to get some great shots of where the line from Easton ran through old Admiralty property. Best of all was a spectacular viaduct which is now a listed structure, so a really worthwhile visit.
Been a busy few days ! Finally managed to get to Upwey on the Abbotsbury branch. The builder’s yard that operate out of the old station buildings were superb and allowed unreserved access, from which it was a short hop to Upwey Junction to finish things off. Making sense of the various stretches of private and overgrown track bed between Portesham and Upwey is an experience I will never forget, but the countryside was stunning and the weather was kind.
Following that, I immediately relocated to Easton on the Isle of Portland and started the line to Weymouth. The weather was less kind, but I managed to make it down the east side of the island as far as the razor wire that indicates Port Authority land. Having had a drink in a pub near the port, I managed to get the phone number of the head of security for the port and happily he has invited me in to take a few shots tomorrow. Hope the weather is good !
In the meantime, I found where the line ran through the back of Castletown, past the sites of the two Portland stations and across the Fleet. From there it was a short hop of smooth cycling on nice tarmac to head in to Weymouth on the wonderful Rodwell trail.
I did also start a little bit of filming with a view to doing a very short number on the Weymouth Quay line, but I don’t know if there’ll be time to complete that.
Having done some finishing off at Axminster and Maiden Newton, I set off to start filming the Abbotsbury branch. The chap who lives at the site of Abbotsbury station was lovely and allowed me in to film to my heart’s content. He was full of fascinating anecdotes and historical information and showed some remnants behind the house that are not visible from the public way. He also used to ride on the line and cheerfully said “1952 feels like last week to me” in reference to when the line closed.
I was also welcomed in to Portesham station to film extensively (which is now a holiday cottage) which remains in superb condition.
I was lucky enough to be allowed in to Powerstock station yesterday to film to my heart’s content, which was a great experience. The owners bought it in 1968 and the line didn’t close until 1975 ! It is a lovely remote spot with picture postcard views in every direction.
I should also mention that they offer holiday lets in the despatcher’s cottage in the old goods yard, attached to the station. Adults only, no pets, £300 or so a week. If you wanted to get away from it all then I really couldn’t think of anywhere better. They don’t have much take up at the moment as they have not advertised this year. For futher details ring Brian or Diana Read on 01308 485301.
Lovely weather for the first few days of this year’s filming trip in Dorset. I’ve already completed Lyme Regis to Axminster, which I have to say was a stinker in terms of access, although the owner of Combpyne station was lovely. As of today I have progressed from West Bay as far as Powerstock and seen some of the loveliest countryside I think I have ever seen in this country.
Setting off for a filming trip in Dorset in a couple of days, very much hoping for some good weather and friendly landowners !
Just back from a trip to Devon where I managed to gain access to Brentor station which is for sale. The owners kindly allowed me in to take pictures to my heart’s content, some of which will appear on this website. They can also be viewed on Facebook in the group Disused Railways of Sussex, even thought they’re not Sussex ! Also had a look at West Bay station, near Bridport which was a treat and will feature in a film to be made in a few weeks time.
Did some more Sussex re-visiting recently, including Hardham Canal Tunnel, which I first filmed back in 2008 or so. A friend directed me to a series of superb photos on the net so I will give you the link as I certainly can’t compete with them, check this out:
It was such a relief to see the end of the bad weather that I decided to do a little series of railway revisits around Sussex. Starting with places that are accessible from where I work in Haywards Heath during my lunch break, I’ve revisited Ardingly station, Rowfant station and Cinder Hill Tunnel. I have posted photos on the Facebook page Disused Railways of Sussex, which is well worth joining if you are on Facebook.
28th January 2014
I’m very much looking forward to the two week period of time booked off work in the Spring to go and uncover some of the disused railways of Dorset. Hopefully the weather will be better than it has been ! I’ve been reading up and gathering maps in the hope of filming the following lines:
- Lyme Regis branch line
- West Bay to Maiden Newton
- Isle of Portland branch line
- Abbottsbury branch line
I am very much in the dark about the accessibility of some of these, but I’m sure I’ll be able to gain enough footage to make something worth watching for each of them.
If there is enough time along the way then an attempt will be made to also do:
- Christchurch to Ringwood
Watch this space for more details !
Fans of my old Vauxhall Nova may be sad to hear that it is up for sale, as it has starred in a quite prolific way in some of the films, not least The Course of the Old A23, where it featured throughout.
“Novacam” was an expression devised to reflect driving along with the camera bolted into the sunroof aperture, which turned out to be a very effective way of documenting disused railways that had had roads built over them. Brockenhurst to West Moors had just such a section across the New Forest.
Anyway, after a staggering 230,000 miles on the original engine (still going strong at time of press), I decided someone else needed to take it on into the future. Irritatingly, the VW Polo I’ve replaced it with doesn’t quite have a wide enough boot aperture to get the trusty Raleigh Chopper in, so I’ve got some engineers recrafting the bike’s rear end so it will fit ! All will be ready for filming in April 2014. Luckily the Polo also has a sunroof so future footage required while driving is assured, although Polocam doesn’t have quite the same ring to it really.
May I also wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thank you for your support in 2013.
Found some old stills I took of the West Pier on one of the tours they did that I forgot I had. I’ve added them on to the page called Fabulous places 2. Also added some vintage postcards on the end of the page called Vintage aerial station shots. Finally, I’m still adding newer shots to Fabulous places 3. Enjoy !
Just added a page called Fabulous places part 3 yesterday, which includes a load of more recent stills, taken partly while filming and also when scouting out possibilities for future filming. I’m still sifting through loads of photos, so expect more to be added presently.
I realise that the stills section of the website has been long neglected, so I hope to remedy this in the near future. As you might imagine, I get the opportunity to take a lot of nice photos on my travels and will attempt to include more of them here than I have done to date.
Previously, there was only one page called Fabulous places, but now there will be another, called Fabulous places 2, soon to be added to. In fact, this page will feature all my old 35mm stills from years ago that I have been scanning, so look out for some ancient history. I also have a collection of vintage aerial photos of Sussex stations, mostly from the 1950s which I will be adding.
Although terribly grainy, I have decided to leave the slide shows up to show the sort of views seen in some of the films. The reason they are so grainy is that they were shot from a paused film straight off a laptop screen, not the highest tech ! Rest assured, the resolution is far better when you actually watch the films themselves.
A long weekend in Devon visiting relatives has given me the opportunity to sneak off and do a smidgeon of disused railway hunting. Today had a quick shufty at GWR and LSWR lines just north of Tavistock before they reach the crossover arch at Wringworthy Farm, jolly exciting. Also managed to have a quick look at the GWR running between Lydford and Launceston, huge embankments, very heavily engineered and all still lying there quietly waiting for the intrepid explorer/trespasser ! Wonderful stuff. It’s hard to imagine filming these lines as they are so very overgrown and quite private in places, so a quick visit to various bits is as good as it gets, for now !
Just back from a few days in Dorset where I managed to fit in a bit of exploration, with a view to filming later this year or early next. Started at Easton on the Isle of Portland and walked along the trackbed that hugs the cliffs on the eastern side of the island, spectacular views, can’t wait to get back along here with the Chopper. Had a look at the Abottsbury branch, walking most of the way from Abbottsbury to Portesham along nice open track bed. Fantastic part of the world, very much looking forward to getting back down there and doing some serious filming. Watch this space !
I was chuffed to have a letter from Hampshire historian Ray Stone today. He was very helpful when I set about making the Meon Valley Line film earlier this year, so I was keen to send him a copy when it was finished. For those of you that have seen the film, this will be of interest, here is what he wrote:
At long last I have been able to watch your excellent DVDs on the Meon Valley Railway. When the middle section of the line was being taken up, Thomas Ward the scrap metal merchants hired a lorry from my Grandfather for nearly two years and I drove it most of that time between Droxford and Farringdon up and down the track.
Seeing your films brought it all back again. And also memories of going through Privett Tunnel and how pitch dark it was when we turned the lorry lights off.
On your trip between Tisted and Farringdon, you brought to our notice some lumps of iron laying beside the track and wondered what they might be.
Over the cutting at this point was a small one span bridge carrying a public footpath, one of those cases where the Parish Council insisted that the footpath be not interrupted.
I think that the piece of metal you referred to was the smoke deflector attached to the bridge.
Thank you again for sending me the films, I shall certainly be looking at them quite often.
What a charming chap ! And a fountain of knowledge too, my grateful thanks.
No other film news at the moment; I hardly ever film when the trees are in full leaf, it spoils the view. I have reading up about various to go either later this year or early next.
Delighted to receive a message from a Bishops Waltham resident who said he enjoyed the Bishops Waltham to Botley film and also that there would be a celebration to mark the 150th anniversary of the opening of the line which was in June 1863. I raise my glass to you !
Yesterday I set out to make a film about the Bishops Waltham to Botley branch line, having previously said I would probably pass on it as it looked too difficult. I’m very glad I did as there was plenty to see including a couple of surprises. It will probably only be a short film of about 40 mins or so and will hopefully be available in the next week.
Today sees the release of three new titles:
- Meon Valley Line (Alton to Fareham) Tour (5 x DVD) 4 hours 12 mins
- Brockenhurst to West Moors Trackbed Tour (2 x DVD) 2 hours
- A visit to Cannington viaduct near Lyme Regis (1 x DVD) 13 mins
I will update the info pages and price list shortly with full details shortly.
Finally left Brockenhurst today after a week of great filming (and a week in the Meon Valley a week before that). Popped down to Hayling Island with the intention of re-shooting the Hayling Island Branch Line, but it was so cold I decided I couldn’t face it, so took some stills instead. Just got to get my head down and edit Meon Valley Line, Brockenhurst to West Moors and A Visit to Cannington Viaduct and then I’ll email everyone to broadcast their existance, probably be about three weeks, thank you for your support.
Drove down to Lyme Regis today to see the Cannington viaduct which served the old line between Axminster and Lyme Regis and shot a bit of film, maybe just enough for a short. Also went past Abbotsbury to see remains of the line there including the station building at Portesham. Then it was over to the Isle of Portland to see tramway remains at some of the stone quarries and a few sections of the old line to Easton. Mostly it was a fact finding mission to see about possibilities for filming in the future. Finally saw a bit of evidence of the Somerset and Dorset line on my way back to Brockenhurst. I’ve enjoyed this filming season and have seen loads !
Coldest start so far today, had trouble holding the camera ! Set off from Bagnum to take in a number of old level crossings (with cottages in some cases) on my way to Ringwood. Having reached Ringwood with time to spare, I decided to carry on to West Moors.Quite an exciting moment as I rolled over the border as it is the first time Dumpman Films has filmed in Dorset. It was a worthwhile trip with a variety of things to see in the form of trackside relics, but in particular crossing the River Avon and seeing Ashley Heath platform remains stick in the memory.
Lovely sunny day so took full advantage and cycled from Cater’s Cottage to the end of the cycle route near Burley, taking in the wonderful station at Holmsley, now a tea room. After the end of the cycle route I walked alongside a very boggy track bed, almost as far as a little place called Bagnum.
Set off for the New Forest today, but decided to take a detour through Winchester. While there, I saw the site of Chesil station and the southern tunnel mouth. I also got to walk across the newly reopened Hockley viaduct and take some stills from below it. On reaching Brockenhurst I immediately started filming the line to Ringwood and made progress as far as the keeper’s cottage called Cater’s Cottage.
Set off from Farringdon to do the short hop to Alton on the bike and spent a bit of time nosing around Mounters Lane in Alton to see exactly where the Meon Valley line joined the Watercress line. Also popped along to Alton station to see the Meon Valley line platforms and enjoy a bit of Thomas, as he was visiting ! Finally, went and did some exploration of the Bishops Waltham to Botley branch and decided that I wouldn’t be filming it. I did take some stills that I will put up on the website presently. Off to Brockenhurst tomorrow.
Starting from the almost buried north end of Privett tunnel, I managed to progress partly on foot and partly by bike as far as Farringdon, which is better than I’d hoped for. I have the whole day tomorrow to reach Alton and tie one or two loose ends before heading to the New Forest and tackling the Brockenhurst to Ringwood line.
Back to the track today, completing the section between Droxford and West Meon on the bike. Very cold again, but some sun and lots of stunning views across Hampshire countryside. Also explored the remains of the long demolished West Meon viaduct and fought my way through undergrowth to both ends of West Meon tunnel and beyond. With good weather tomorrow I hope to get as far as Tisted.
Another chilly one, but today was about visits rather than travelling the track bed. I had unrestricted filming access generously afforded me by the owners at Privett station and further north at Tisted station, both were absolutely fascinating and quite beautiful buildings. My third visit for the day afforded me access to the incredible 1056 yard long Privett tunnel. Having been given permission to enter, I went down and walked the full length alone and with an intermittent torch. Exciting stuff as you can’t see either end in the middle as it is curved and the echo was superb.
Despite freezing temperatures and the odd snowflake, I was back out on the bike today and filmed from Knowle Junction up to Droxford. Delightful views across the River Meon, particularly as I approached Droxford. Tomorrow promises progress to West Meon and a visit to Privett station. Today was the 50th anniversary of the Beeching report, food for thought.
It’s filming season ! Currently resident in the Meon Valley. Today started filming the Meon Valley line at Fareham and progressed around the Tunnel Deviation line before rejoining the disused section just north of Knowle Halt.
I see things are hotting up around the Bexhill bypass ! Numerous protestors are trying to slow down the progress of the road builders, good luck to them. I’m very glad I got to make the Crowhurst to Bexhill West film in 2009 before they started work. If I can find the time I may go back to get some more footage as an addendum.
8th January 2013
Happy New Year to you. Just booked a couple of weeks off work either side of Easter in the hope of doing some filming in a variety of places. Top of the list is the Meon Valley line, been contacting landowners to try and get access and not doing too badly. Also hoping to do Brockenhurst to Ringwood and Bishops Waltham to Botley. If there’s time then I’ll also have a crack at doing proper job on the Hayling Island branch, as the one I did in 2006 was a bit thin. All depends on some reasonable weather of course ! More details as they come to light.
I’ve been receiving updates on the Crowhurst to Bexhill West line, where trees are being cut down in preparation for finally constructing the bypass there. Some of you will remember I filmed the whole line in 2009 so I hope to get back and do some “before and after” shots during the time it takes them to ruin the valley where the viaduct used to stand. Progress eh ?
Very nice to meet a number of people at the Hurstpierpoint Christmas Fair, thank you for popping in, hope you have a nice Christmas !
Just to clarify the timings for the Hurstpierpoint Chrismas Fair, they are:
Friday 30th November 6.30 – 9pm
Saturday 1st December 9.30 – 1pm
I got this wrong last year and people turned up early ! Maybe see you there.
A great day revisiting some old haunts with friends who were (mostly) seeing them for the first time. We started at Singleton station and wandered through the vast platform areas, taking in the spectacular water tower and goods shed. We also had a sly peep in the subway that runs under the platforms which is always exciting. Then it was on to the northern portal of Cocking tunnel and the eastern end of Midhurst tunnel. A good clamber round the highly dangerous disused lime kilns at Cocking, topped off with a quick photo session on the only remaining open tunnel on the Midhurst to Chichester line, which is under the A286 just south of West Dean. A cracking day all round; no filming, just stills, but a lovely day for it.
Dumpman Films goes on tour ! Only in a small way this year. I will be setting up shop at Hurstpierpoint Village Centre at the end of this month, Friday 30th November (evening) and Saturday 1st December (morning).
- Friday 31st – 5pm or 6pm (not sure) til 9pm
- Saturday 1st – 9pm til lunchtime
If you’re in the area then do pop by to say hello.
I am continuing to try and obtain various permissions regarding the Meon Valley line in the hope of starting filming this side of Christmas.
For anyone who was a fan of the Old A23 film that came out earlier this year (not many of you !), I’ve been filming the various changes that have been occurring during the widening works on Handcross Hill, with view to releasing a “before and after” type documentary when they finish in 2014. A while in the pipeline then !
If you are a Facebook regular then you may enjoy a group called the Disused Railways of Sussex. I started it in 2008 or so and did nothing with it, but recently lots of people have joined and are uploading lots of superb photos and anecdotes about their own railway explorations. I can’t wait to get home from work at the end of each day to see what put up there ! For my part, I have uploaded all my own stills dating back to the 80s and continue to put more recent stills up whenever I visit somewhere. There are many enthusiastic railway hunters out there it seems ! Good to know.
Just back from another trip to Devon, where I was lucky enough to be in the company of two knowledgeable locals (Hi Bob and Kevin). Sites explored included Shillamill tunnel (both ends), Shillamill viaduct and a return visit to Mary Tavy station. The urge to do a filming job on Bere Alston to Tavistock is enormous, seeing the spectacular views, hopefully one day ! I also went to have a look at Lake viaduct on the Okehampton to Tavistock line (now a cyclepath) which was quite spectacular. Following a quick look at the wonderfully preserved Bridestowe station, I also managed a quick walk along the course of the Rattlebrook peat mine line that used to snake its way up on the moor. All good stuff and of course food for thought for future projects on the Chopper. Photos to follow.
Just back from a couple of days in the New Forest where I took the opportunity to have a quick look at the disused line between Ringwood and Brockenhurst. The scenery was delightful as you can imagine and I was certainly persuaded that Dumpman Films ought to a job on that line either later this year or early in 2013. I will upload some stills of my recce on the page called Fabulous places (stills) in the next few days.
I am currently also reading up about the Meon Valley line with a view to starting work on that in the autumn (if the weather is any good). Another possibility on the wish list is to do a more thorough job on the Hayling Island branch line, as the one I shot on a whim in 2006 is rather thin and I’ve always fancied re-doing it. Details to follow as they become current.
I’ve finally got round to scanning all my old stills taken with my clunky old 35mm camera. I will upload these bit by bit, but today have added a few shots of the inside of St Lawrence tunnel (Isle of Wight) when it was a mushroom farm back in 1998. If you’re interested then have a look at the page called Fabulous places (stills) and scroll all the way to the bottom of the page. More old stills to follow.
Just loaded a few photos on the Fabulous places (stills) page for anyone who is interested; some Isle of Wight and some Meon Valley, enjoy.
Delighted to announce the completion of:
- Old Blackgang to Niton road explored
Full details can be found at the end of the page called Film Catalogue 3.
I had a delightful walk with the Railway Ramblers this weekend, exploring sections of the Meon Valley line. Starting at Privett station, we walked north taking in Tisted station before stopping just short of the Watercress Line. The highlight was a visit to Privett tunnel, which has been converted into a BMX track. Just have a look at this link to see what these guys are capable of:
I can also tell you that the next Dumpman Films release is likely to be another track bed exploration south from West Meon towards Fareham, hopefully this will happen before the end of this year.
Some stills of the Meon Valley visit will shortly appear on the Fabulous Places page.
Shanklin to Ventnor film now includes Philip Lindhurst’s footage from inside the tunnel. What particularly impressed me was the view up the ventilation shaft !
Still working on Old Blackgang to Niton Road film, and on and on.
A friendly customer (hello Philip) has said that he has video footage of a walk through Ventnor tunnel that he did some years ago that he will allow me to include in the Shanklin to Ventnor film, which is most exciting. This will probably take a couple of weeks to organise, but anyone who has bought the original film without the extra footage need only contact me and I will send out a replacement free of charge. Can’t wait to see what the inside of that tunnel looks like ! I know the inside of one tunnel looks much like another, but hey, this is Ventnor tunnel we’re talking about, the stuff of legends ! Watch this space for further updates.
For anyone interested in the techy side of things, I have just invested in a swish dvd duplicator that allows me to copy three dvds at once from my master disc in only a few minutes. The big advantage of this is that copies I send out to people will now be of a higher definition than they used to be. Dumpman Films goes digital ! Almost…
Freshwater to Newport film now available, but still working on Old Blackgang to Niton Road.
All IOW railway titles finished now apart from the sprawling Freshwater to Newport, which I am working on right now. Also still to do is the shorter Old Blackgang to Niton Road. A general release should be announced in about a week, all being well.
Beavering away on editing all the Isle of Wight material, so far have finished:
- Shanklin to Ventnor
- Brading to Bembridge
- Newport to Cowes
- Ventnor West to Merstone
I will do a mass email to everyone (maybe you, if I have your email address) when they are all finished and I’m in the position to start sending some out, should be no later than mid May. I have started to list them in Film Catalogue page 3, but have to yet to complete that. Many thanks for all the encouragement I’ve been receiving !
Just came across a couple of links to old news footage of the slippages at Blackgang that are quite interesting:
Another quick peep at the more easily accessed west end of the old Blackgang Niton road in the morning just get some more shots. Also managed to get a quick visit to Newchurch station just before ferry time.
All this lot will take a while to edit and assemble, but should be announcing a steady flow or releases in the next couple of months.
Last full day here has been largely tidying up loose ends, with revisits to Freshwater, Cowes and Newchurch. More interestingly, I did get access to Calbourne station and Queen Victoria’s private station at Whippingham. Whippingham was particularly impressive and I was invited to film inside the building, which was far more than I could have hoped for; a really charming couple who offered me coffee and biscuits while we sat and chatted about all things for an hour or more while thunder rumbled outside. A royal treat you might say.
11th April (second entry)
Below is some information I found online from English Heritage about the Shakespeare memorial that I found while exploring and filming on the undercliff on the abandoned road between Blackgang and Niton on the Isle of Wight, makes interesting reading.
English Heritage: “Ornamental temple. c.1835, erected by Charles Letts the diarist and owner of South View in honour of William Shakespeare. Small circular temple of 6 stone fluted Doric columns supporting a wooden entablature set on an artificial mould. Tablet with inscription: “He sits alone like a descended God / He hath a kind of honour sets him off / More than a mortal seeming. Cymbeline. Act 1. Scene 7″. At the base of the mound is a fountain. Stone, round headed with metal shell-shaped fountain and spout. Most of the metal inscription had rubbed off so as to be illegible at time of survey.
Derek Sprake, local historian:
“South View was one of three large Victorian homes which were on the cliff edge, and was indeed the home of Charles Letts. Later (to approx. 1950 it was the home of Sir Charles Eley (of the cartridge manufacturers family). The monument was on the main road from Ventnor to Chale, near Blackgang, and area known as the Undercliffe. In 1928 a massive cliff fall approx 100 yards to the south blocked the old road forever. In the 1961 another cliff fall to the north made access to the monument almost impossible. South View remained isolated, and became a Nudist Camp (not many passers by to have a peep!), and was later demolished.
The last time I saw the Shakespeare Monument was probably in the 1970′s when it was falling into disrepair. From memory it was basically a wooden structure, possibly covered in stucco or plaster of some kind, but it became totally overgrown with ivy and basically rotted away.
The other feature was the “fountain” below the monument with what looks like a white border and water falling from the bottom into a stone lined pit. The white circular area had words in (I think) lead, with something like – “water is the power of life” (I expect it was a quote from Shakespeare!). This area of Blackgang was well known for its spar waters and for years doctors would gather the waters to provide cures for their patients. As a boy, the trick was that, where the water ran out of the ‘fountain’ , there was a ‘lip’ into which passers by could insert an ivy leaf which created a ‘spout’ so enabling one to catch the water in your mouth, or in your hands, and take a cool drink. Evertime I passed by as a boy we would put in a new leave, have a long drink, and pass on our way.”
Very exciting day today. I had always fancied attempting the treacherous task of tracing the course of the abandoned undercliff road between Blackgang and Niton. Having parked up at the eastern end, I had no idea whether such a lunatic trek would be possible. Essentially, it involved clambering down steep,but established paths to beach level and then trying to find the remains of what used to be official footpaths that run up the vast pile of landslip that tore 150 yards of the road from the cliff in 1928. After a terrifying climb up a steep slope through what can only be described as a tunnel of undergrowth, I jubilantly arrived at the abandoned road. I then traced it westwards towards Blackgang Chine and took in all the extraordinary sights there were to see. Absolutely one of my most exciting adventures yet, the light was perfect and I didn’t fall down the 300 foot drop. This will edited into a short film on the subject and released at some point in the next couple of months along with all the other railway based titles that I’ve been filming in the last week and a half.
Finished all the way to Newport as the weather was superb. Highlights were spending quality time with the people who live at the disused stations of Watchingwell and Ningwood and also the folk who live in Petticoat Lane crossing keepers cottage, you know who you are ! Hoping to make contact with the inhabitants of Calbourne station in the next couple of days.
Rough weather today reduced outdoor filming opportunities, but a trip to Freshwater garden centre was fruitful as they have a section of platform running through their store which was mercifully undercover. Also found the concrete uprights of the station sign which was a bonus. Went cold calling old stations at Calbourne, Ningwood and St Helens with some success, hoping for better weather tomorrow.
I’m 42 today and still pursuing childish activities like clambering down old railway tunnels, long may it continue. Got up at 5 a.m. to allow access to a private piece of land which involved bolting the camera to the roof of the car and tearing down a railway cutting which is also someone’s driveway, nice ! Also started filming a piece on the old lost road between Blackgang and Niton, but not sure if there will ever be enough of it to see the light of day, we’ll see if there’s enough time this week to add some more to it. Finally, started filming the last in the series of disused Isle of Wight railways which is Freshwater to Newport, this is the priority. If the weather isn’t too terrible (prediction is dire) then I should have it done before I have to return to the mainland on Friday, here’s hoping !
Newport to Wooton was today’s cycle, which was a relief after yesterday’s struggle. Also managed to take in Shide quarry and Ashey racecourse and quarry. A quick morning visit to Haven Street for the first time was also very interesting and great fun, I heartily recommend it. Not sure if the weather will allow Freshwater to Newport tomorrow, but I’ll have a go.
Ventnor West to Merstone was today’s challenge, didn’t think it could be done in a day, but I managed it. Obviously not all trackbed was travelled as some of it is completely overgrown, other bits have been built on, but plenty of superb sights were captured. I was invited in (despite cold calling) and allowed to film at the stations of St Lawrence, Whitwell and Godshill all of which were fantastic places to see. I filmed Ventnor West from the outside, managed to trace the track pretty much as far as St Lawrence (some with the Novacam) and then had a delightful trip right the way through St Lawrence tunnel, one of my favourites ! Hoping the weather will hold tomorrow so I can at least start the Freshwater to Newport line.
Opted for a shorter cycle today after yesterday’s marathon and cycled between Shanklin and Wroxall. A small branch of Travis Perkins occupies the site of Wroxall station now and the charming staff there allowed me into their warehouse to film the platform remains in exchange for a ride of my Chopper along the pavement ! I have brief footage of this hilarious event and will include it in the film. A short walk took me to the northern portal of Ventnor tunnel. I then walked up Wroxall Down to film evidence of the tunnel’s ventilation shafts and filmed the site of Ventnor station from the top of the hill. Finally, I drove down the other side of the hill to the site of Ventnor station and attached the camera to the roof of the the Nova (the Novacam) to drive slowly through the site to the southern portal of the 1312 yard Ventnor tunnel.
Also spent some time investigating the whereabouts of the trackbed between St Lawrence and Ventnor West station which is tricky to say the least. A sneaky peep into the southern end of St Lawrence tunnel was worth it too. Hoping to start on the notoriously awkward Merstone to Ventnor West line tomorrow if the weather is being helpful.
A longer strectch today, covering the Sandown to Newport line. Total mileage on the Chopper is around 16 miles and I can feel it ! I also did the intro to Merstone to Ventnor West seeing as I was at Merstone. Great weather, amazing wildlife, superb views and a delightful station owner at Blackwater who spotted me looking longingly over the fence and invited me in to take shots of his platform, good man !
Filmed the Newport to Cowes line today, delightful weather held out all the way with superb views across the River Medina. Nearly all done on the Chopper apart from a little bit in Newport with the camera bolted to the top of my old Vauxhall Nova (let’s call it the Novacam) where the track ran through an industrial estate. Drove out to Freshwater to look at starting that route but realised I was exhausted so went to the pub.
I also went and had a look at the old Blackgang road just west of Ventnor. This road used to run along under the cliffs between Niton and Blackgang; a chunk of it slid away in 1928 and then a load more of it disappeared in 1994. All you can do now is stand at either end and marvel at how a piece of tarmac road suddenly turns into a cliffedge. If you are really intrepid you can go clambering and find all sorts of things that slid down the cliff; cars, houses, a whole community and because noone can get to it it is all still there. I wasn’t that intrepid, but if you look on youtube and search “Blackgang old road” you will see some remarkable footage that various daredevils have submitted.
On the Isle of Wight: arrived at lunch time and at the end of today had almost completed filming Brading to Bembridge. Splendid weather, delightful scenery, so far so good ! If the weather holds (which doesn’t look too likely for tomorrow) then Newport to Cowes beckons.
Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while may remember that I made a film about the disused railway between Crowhurst and Bexhill West back in 2009. I was keen to get it done as there were compulsory purchase order notices appearing all over the place along the route relating to the construction of a controversial bypass (aren’t they all ?) Not much has been said about it for a while, leading me to think that I could have taken longer over the project, but I’ve just spotted a link that indicates that the government have given it the green light, so now I’m glad to have done it when I did ! I’m sure it will be a long time until diggers move in, but it is worth bearing in mind if you want to see the delightful Combe Haven valley before it is ruined. This is the valley that carried the 17 arch viaduct from Crowhurst that was spectacularly blown up in (I think) the late 60s. Well worth a visit let me tell you, it is beautiful. See the link below:
If you are unfamiliar with the route then click on the link below to see a map. The course of the old railway follows the route of the new road through Sidley then diverges south to where the viaduct used to be before turning north again and crossing the route of the new road before heading into Crowhurst (see the hatched blue lines that indicate where the railway used to run).
If I manage to find the time I may go down with the camera when the diggers are on site and try and make some sort of “before and after” mini film, with the railway (obviously) being the focal point.
Other than that, getting very excited about heading off to the Isle of Wight tomorrow for two weeks of disused railway exploring and filming, hoping the weather doesn’t turn too inclement.
Gathering together all the necessary weapons for the Isle of Wight trip, especially spare inner tubes for the Chopper ! If this battered laptop continues to work then I should be able to add daily blogs from the IOW as filming progresses.
A good friend recently reminded me of this fantastic website
If you want to see good clear aerial photos of Sussex from the mid to late 1940s then this is superb. I’ve been using it to look at the progress of the reconstruction of the A23 into dual carriageway. I was told they started this before WW2, but didn’t get round to finishing it well into the 1950s. You can see various stretches under construction, especially around Handcross, how history repeats itself !
Delighted again to announce the release of a short film:
- A visit to the LSWR / GWR crossover arch near Tavistock
Full details will follow in the Film Catalogue pages as usual.
Delighted to announce the release of:
- The Course of the Old A23 in Sussex
This is a 2 x dvd set clocking in at 2 hours. Full details and a review can be found at the bottom of the webpage called Film Catalogue 2.
Photos of recent jaunts are now ready to view on the Fabulous Places page as promised.
Another weekend away, this time in South Wales. I didn’t have an enormous amount of time to go ferreting around old railways, but did manage to visit a disused GWR station at Tintern (of Tintern abbey fame) and take some shots of a splendid disused (and falling down ?) viaduct at Monmouth. As with the Devon photos previously mentioned, this shots will shortly appear on the Fabulous Places page on this site, sorry for the delay.
Had an enjoyable visit to Devon, managing to get some nice stills of disused features around Tavistock. I will post these shots on the Fabulous Places page shortly. I managed to get access to the giant arch at the LSWR/GWR crossover point just north of Tavistock again (friendly landowner) and did a bit of filming. It may be a bit short to release as a film in its own right, but it makes for interesting viewing, will make it available in some way as folk have asked for it.
Other places visited included Grenofen tunnel, Magpie viaduct, Lydford viaduct and an impressive new viaduct that they are building to carry a cycle path where the old one was demolished on the river Walkham near Horrabridge.
The Isle of Wight trip is really taking shape now; crossings and lodgings are now booked, just hoping for decent weather in April ! If anyone knows any railway landowners in the Isle of Wight, I would love to be put in touch with them.
A23 film to be released this month definitely.
Still working on the Course of the Old A23 in Sussex film, keep finding more to include, but still hoping for a late January release (ok maybe February then).
Have finally managed to set aside two whole weeks in April to go over to the Isle of Wight and do a thorough job of filming all the disused lines there. Regulars will know that I have been hoping to do this for about three years now, but a decent stretch of time all in one hit has so far eluded me. The up side of this is that I have managed to read up about the various IOW lines in some detail now, so the usual haphazard commentary may be slightly more cohesive than normal. Expect IOW disused line films to come out progressively through the year as I get round to editing all the footage. I am very excited about the prospect of finally doing this as I’ve been snooping round the island railways since the mid 1980s, whenever opportunities arose, so this will be the culmination of nearly 30 years of interest. Watch this space ! Anyone know a cheap place to stay on the island ?
Also popping down to Devon to see relatives this weekend and hoping to at least get some stills of disused lines around Tavistock and maybe a couple of the West Meon line; if so I will post them here as usual.
I’ve finished all the filming for the Course of the Old A23 in Sussex, just editing now. One of the reasons this took so long is that as the views on Handcross Hill changed with all the trees being removed, I kept going back for more ! Expect news of this one being released in January 2012. Thank you for your interest and Merry Christmas to you.
Just had a brief visit to relatives near Rome and they had found a little abandoned railway nearby that they were excited to show me ! I know very little about the geography of the area, but the line used to run in a broadly east-west direction about 40 miles north of Rome. The station I went to see was at a town Caprarola, near Viterba. What was odd about it (when compared to disused lines in this country) is that the track is still present and the platforms area only about a foot high, which gives it a kind of pygmy feel to it ! I will add photos to the website shortly.
Still filming the Course of the Old A23 which is taking longer than anticipated, maybe looking at an early 2012 release.
Dumpman Films is on tour again this year, doing the craft fair circuit. By all means pop down and say hello at the following events:
- Lewes late night shopping – Thursday 1st December 5pm-9pm
- Hurstpierpoint village hall – Friday 2nd December 5pm-9pm
- Hurstpierpoint village hall – Saturday 3rd December 9am-12pm
There may be more to follow if I can fit them in and will certainly detail them if that is the case.
My apologies for being slow in putting promised stills up on the website galleries, been having a few problems with that, but more photos to follow as soon as possible.
Last couple of weekends (and the next few for the forseeable) have been involved with preparing for Course of the Old A23 film. Seeing that preparations for the widening of the stretch between Handcross and Warninglid are imminent, I’ve made a few forays along there to gather footage incase they suddenly cut down a load of trees before I’ve got started ! The idea of this film will be to recreate the journey made by the old road from Crawley to Brighton, as the new road deviates from it substantially in a number of places.
Part of my preparations have involved building a kind of tripod platform that neatly slots in to the sunroof of my old Nova to carry a camera, with a microphone attached to a coat-hanger that hangs down at head level so I can give commentary while driving. This is slightly safer than driving with one hand on the wheel and holding the camera with the other, which is what I have done previously, albeit only for short stretches ! The steadiness of the picture is also greatly improved, so you can see, a rare technological advance for the largely primitive Dumpman Films.
At the moment I’m hoping to finish this one by the end of the year, all being well.
A trip to Bourton On The Water in the middle of the Cotwolds for a friend’s 40th birthday party afforded me an opportunity to do a bit of exploring this weekend just gone. I visited the station sites of Nutgrove (now a Caravan Club site) and Bourton, both previously part of the GWR. More fun was exploring around the nearby village of Chedworth, where the old railway now runs through a stunning nature reserve and up to a picturesque tunnel. A disused airfield was also found in passing. Photos to follow.
A lovely visit to the Isle of Wight, albeit rather shorter than I would have liked. I didn’t do any filming, but visited a number of places. I will put stills up on the website shortly. Most of the exploring was around the Ventnor area, in particular the two tunnels that served it. Managed to get up close to both ends of Ventnor tunnel, but not get in as it owned by Southern Water and used for their pipelines. I did get in to St Lawrence tunnel which was a mushroom farm when I last visited in 2000. Just an empty quiet place now. I also had a quick look at St Lawrence station, which is looking a bit decrepit now.
Away from the railways for a moment, I also visited the Royal Botanical Gardens on the outskirts of Ventor. This is on the site of an old hospital (for respiratory diseases) that was demolished in 1969; plenty of interesting history there, well worth a visit. The original buildings were a quarter of a mile long.
Looking forward to a visit to the Isle of Wight next month. Although it is unlikely I will be filming much (still a bit too leafy in August), a certain amount of recce to see what will be possible in future times will be useful. Hoping to get to stroll down St Lawrence tunnel as a minumum !
Just uploaded some photos of the GWR/LSWR crossover point just north of Tavistock, for anyone who has had a burning ambition to see what it looked like, as indeed I did ! Look at the bottom of the Fabulous Places (stills) page to see them. I had to wade through a river to get to it, but it was well worth the soaking.
Midhurst to Petersfield track bed explored is now available as is A short tour of Jack windmill. Any enquiries welcome !
Finally finished Midhurst to Petersfield ! Will be generally available in about a week. Also delighted to say that a visit to Jack (of Jack and Jill Windmills fame) has been filmed and will also be available very shortly. I will send the usual email proudly announcing etc.
My apologies for anyone getting impatient for the Midhurst to Petersfield film, still working on it. Quite excited about the prospect of being allowed to film Jack of Jack and Jill Windmills fame. Have had contact with the owner who is selling up and he is happy to be visited, I hope to have more news on this shortly.
I’m feeling under pressure to make some progress of the Course of the Old A23 in Sussex film as I have just read in the Mid Sussex Times that plans to widen Handcross Hill to three lanes will start in October. It would be a shame to miss it in its original, unforgiving state.
Happily I’ve had permission to access some particularly beautiful stretches of the Midhurst to Petersfield line and will be finishing this before the end of April (no really !)
I recently received a very stern email from the owners of Lydford Junction Station in Devon, who were annoyed that I had accessed their land to film without permission. I apologised and we agreed I would visit. They turned out to be some of the nicest folk I have ever met, gave me a full tour and offered to allow me to film at length on a future occasion. They are at pains to point out that they are happy to receive visitors by prior arrangement, but take a very dim view of people just strolling in as they have livestock running free in the area. www.lydfordstationstables.co.uk is the web address if you want to know more about the current day usage.
I also managed to see a landmark that I had wanted to see for many years. Just north of Tavistock, you have the two disused lines converging to run for six miles, side by side, all the way to Lydford. Not far north of Tavistock, the LSWR line crosses the GWR line by way of an enormous granite bridge. I’d looked on google earth and any number of other places to try and get a view of this, but finally decided to simply drive down to the nearby farm and ask if I could wander over their land to where I thought it was. Happily, the owner was delightful and showed me the way. After a short wade through the River Burn, I was scampering up the embankment to take photos of a monument that I had wondered about for years. Funny thing is, it turned out that the farm (Wringworthy Farm) had been a B and B in years gone by and I had actually stayed there on a family holiday in 1979 and never spotted the bridge, even though it was only 50 yards or so from the farm. So near yet so far and so long ago.
I will post some photos of this on Fabulous Places page of the website shortly.
Midhurst to Petersfield proved to be more tricky to film than anticipated, with some inaccessible stretches. I have written to a number of landowners in an attempt to gain further access and in one case have been kindly invited to go in. I am hoping to get back this month to finish the final stretch to Petersfield, sorry for the wait !
I’ve also started filming bits for the Course of the Old A23 film, which I hope to finish before the summer.
Currently filming in Midhurst working on the Midhurst to Petersfield line and all I can say so far is, it’s heavy going ! Lots of awkward sections and the occasional awkward landowner. I also had the pleasure of meeting Dr Vic Mitchell for the first time, who gave me a tour of Middleton Press and some useful pointers on how to further the fortunes of Dumpman Films.
Midhurst to Petersfield should be available (finally !) later this month.
12th January 2011
Happy New Year to you. Just waiting for a break in the weather so I can get on out there and do some filming ! Top of the list is Midhurst to Petersfield, but also hoping to do a more detailed look at the Hayling Island branch. Watch this space.
Just stepped out of my back door here in Southwick today and measured 8 inches of snow ! I have to say that the Lewes late night shopping event that I was hoping to attend later today now seems very unlikely.
Delighted that the Bluebell Railway website has suddenly put a link to Dumpman Films; my website hit rate has gone through the roof ! I have no idea who is responsible, but if you’re reading this and you had a hand in it then I am very grateful, thank you !
The little ten minute demo is now embedded on the page entitled “Links to wonderful websites” so all you have to do is go to that page, scroll to the bottom and click on a picture of me emerging from a bunker.
I am also happy to report that any visitors to Jill windmill (of Jack and Jill fame) will see copies of the Clayton Tunnel and Cottage film available to buy there. I am very grateful to Simon Potter for this and for the tour he gave me around the workings of the mill, it is a fascinating place with far more to it than you might imagine. Get on up there for a visit and make sure you donate something as it is always needed.
Great excitement ! I’m on youtube ! Go to youtube.com and put in “dumpman films” as a search and (perhaps not surprisingly) I am top of the list. I hope to embed this link into the website, but having a few teething troubles at the moment.
My sincere thanks to my good friend Mike Cock for engineering this for me. Naturally the analogue world of Dumpman Films doesn’t extend to this sort of computer trickery, so I’m greatly indebted.
Dumpman on tour ! The below dates are confirmed craft fairs that I will be attending:
Hurstpierpoint Christmas Fair, The Village Centre
Friday 26th November 6.30pm – 9.00pm
Saturday 27th November 9.30am – 1.00pm
Lewes Late Night Shopping, Town Hall, Fisher Street
Thursday 2nd December 5.00pm – 9.00pm
As usual, the full complement of films will be available for sale and I will standing near them trying to make them appear more interesting by telling people about them. If you’re in the area and fancy popping by just to say hello then please do. I’ve had a number of folk who have previously bought films come up and say hello at previous events and it’s always interesting to have feedback.
I am currently in negotiations with the Jack and Jill Windmills Trust with a view to them stocking the Clayton Tunnel & Cottage film in their shop up there at the mills. This was something they suggested as visitors to the mills often ask them about the tunnel. I would naturally be happy for anyone to stock my films (obviously !), but the idea that some of the proceeds would be directed to the continuing preservation of these two Sussex landmarks is something I would be delighted with. Watch this space for details.
Thanks to anyone who has expressed their interest by requesting the (free !) demo dvd. I’m currently working on a shortened version to be activated via the website. Essentially, there will be a link somewhere on the home page which will connect to You tube, where a ten minute version of the demo dvd will appear. Watch this space.
I’m delighted to say that a shop in Brighton is now stocking Dumpman Films. A superb dvd emporium specialising in foreign films, classics, avant garde and hard to find items, Timeslip Dvds is in Trafalgar Street, quite close to Brighton station. A small representation of my stuff is available there and I have to say a host of other interesting films. The chap who runs it (Hi Mick !) is also enthusiastic about promoting local talent and has a variety of home grown productions there that will delight any film buff. He’s being kind enough to stock my modest offerings alongside these greater talents and I’m most grateful. A shop well worth a visit.
I was delighted to hear that the open day run by the resident of Clayton Tunnel Cottage last week had gone well with a huge number of people trying to get on the tours as part of Heritage Days. (I had hoped to get down there and help out, but my tired old Vauxhall Nova was in bits in the garage.) I can’t recommend these tours highly enough and hope he decides to continue by running them next year as the place is just so very fascinating. Each tour takes in the spectacular grounds of the place, giving people unique views that they wouldn’t normally see of the structure up close. Plenty of historical facts and some of the legends of the place are also imparted. If you ever get the chance to do this trip then go for it.
Having emailed everyone on my mailing list announcing the availability of this free demo dvd, I’ve been quite surprised (and delighted) with the response. If you have asked for one of these then please bear with me while I try and cope with demand, you will get one if you asked for one. You may laugh heartily at my primitive methods, but I don’t have the technology to fast copy discs so all the discs I produce are copied in real time. So far I have about 100 requests for demo discs; luckily I started copying before I announced it. I was lucky enough to have one of my previous customers put a note on the Subterranea Brittanica website (thank you sir, I owe you many beers) which has greatly swelled the numbers of folk interested. I look forward to hearing what people think of it and hopefully leaving the odd comment in the guest book.
I have found that the guest book is becoming a bit of a vault for people’s memories rather than film feedback, but I think that’s great and have decided to nudge people to do just that. I suddenly realised that I was regularly checking it to see if any more exciting tales had been added and that it would be fun if it was loaded with personal accounts from times gone by. If you have an interesting tale relating to industrial history in Sussex (or elsewhere) then feel free to write a piece about it.
Dumpman’s Demo Dvd is finished and ready to ship. As I said before, just send me a postal address by email and I will post you one gratis. (Naturally in the hope that you will be delighted by it’s content and come rushing back to buy something). It runs for an hour and contains clips from very nearly all the films made so far.
I will be creating a page on the website called Demo Disc Contents, which will list the contents with timings, showing which film each clip was lifted from.
Having started making this demo disc with the intention of a short 10-20 minute taster of all the films made so far, it has as usual turned into something somewhat bigger, which will probably clock in at nearer an hour !
I found having trawled through the contents of every film that I couldn’t bear to leave out certain shots, so rather than being a taster dvd it will probably end up being more of a best of or greatest hits ! I must be mad trotting them out for nothing, but I will still do so. I intend to leave them in strategic places where they may entice new folk into my web of intrigue.
To date, I have left the Dumpman Films business cards in various places, like libraries (the railways section), notice boards, gent’s toilets in pubs and anywhere else I could think of. I’ve even been known to slide the cards into railway books in libraries, book shops and railway heritage magazines in WH Smiths. The idea of the demo dvd will be to do something similar, but give something for people to enjoy while they make their minds up.
As I said before, please do email me with your postal address if you would like to receive one, no purchase necessary etc.
On a different note, I’ve been delighted recently to send films to Australia, USA and Canada all in the same week. What is interesting for me is that these are folk who have moved or retired overseas, but have interesting memories of railway lines in Sussex (or Devon) that date back to the 1950s. I was in email contact with a chap who used to go to school on the Princetown to Yelverton line not long before it closed, how cool is that ? I actively encourage people in this position to leave some memoirs in my guest book for all to see. Happily, I see that the last entry there is a fascinating memory from a chap who not only remembers the demise of the Midhurst to Chichester line, but took an active roll as a vandal at the time ! Splendid stuff which makes great reading, thank you for your contribution sir.
Work is nearly finished on the demo disc, cramming all my favourite shots into a short, watchable demo is proving quite a challenge, should be ready in the next week or so. If you want one then just drop us an email with your address and I’ll pop one in the post to you – free !
My apologies to anyone who has had trouble getting on to the site in recent times, my host has been making some improvements. I am told that all is fixed now so there should be no more of that.
Also, I am in the process of making a short demo disc. This will feature a few clips from some of the films and hopefully answer some of the most frequently posed questions about this curious little venture. I will let everyone know when it is ready and it will be free to whoever wants one.
Nothing to report on the filming front; I tend to do less in the summer because of all the growth that obscures views, especially along disused trackbeds ! However, I do have a number of people pushing for filming to be done of the Isle of Wight railways. Although I am still heading towards doing Midhurst to Petersfield as my next project, I intend to start on the Isle of Wight some time next year, all being well.
Just finished editing Cuckfield ROC Bunker to dvd so this is now available. I will add the usual detailed description in the Film Catalogue 2 page shortly.
I’m delighted to say I’ve finally been given permission to go public on a project I’ve been filming that has until now been cloaked in secrecy. Although somewhat under-represented in my film catalogue, I do have an interest in wartime bunkers.
Some time last year I was contacted and asked if I would like to film the restoration of a Royal Observer Corps bunker in Cuckfield, Sussex. Not surprisingly, I jumped at the chance and met a charming chap called Mark Russell, who is really rather a big wheel in bunker hunting circles. You can admire his extensive bunker travels at the website www.rocremembered.com, most impressive.
Mark started work on this bunker last year and I visited him there at various stages of the restoration and filmed snippets on each occasion. It was very interesting for me as I had never seen one of these bunkers as it was during its time of use, only after flooding and dereliction as anyone who has seen my short film about the Billingshurst ROC bunker will know. The standard to which Mark has brought this bunker up to is superlative. I was lucky enough to get along on one of the open days and indeed there will be future open days. I will be linking my website to his so that any forthcoming dates can be more easily displayed to as many people as possible.
I thoroughly recommend a visit and when you are there I would encourage you to put a donation in the pot towards the future maintenance of this unique heritage site and help the fruit of one man’s vision continue for as many years as possible. Naturally, Dumpman Films will be releasing a short documentary about the restoration and a percentage of profits will go into the aforementioned pot. Delighted to have been asked to be involved.
Finally, finished the Princetown to Yelverton film and released it to the world at large or at least the small band of like minded loons who kindly support my endeavours, I thank you etc. It is a two and half hour epic with all sorts of fun contained within. I’m very grateful to the good people of Dousland and Yelverton station sites for allowing me access and to Bob Spalding for meeting me at Burrator halt on the day, very memorable. Thanks also to my mum for driving me and my bike up to Princetown !
Later today will see the release of Lydford Junction & Mary Tavy stations explored dvd. It’s just a little 20 minute job, but the Princetown to Yelverton one should follow later this week and that will be a biggie over a number of discs. I will send out a circular email as usual with full details.
See numerous still photos added to the site on the Fabulous Places page.
I’ve just returned from the most superb weekend away ever. My wife took me away for my 40th birthday to Petworth station. For anyone that doesn’t know it, check it out on the net. The main bit of the hotel is the stunning old station building and the luxury bedrooms occupy Pullman carriages that are berthed at the platforms ! It really is the most amazing place. I have been there before and know the proprietor well as he kindly allowed me to film to my heart’s content when I made the Midhurst to Pulborough dvd a couple of years ago, but I had never actually stayed there as a guest. If you get the opportunity then do it, it is superb.
Seeing as it was my birthday weekend, we also had a charming amble along the trackbed at Ambersham common and a quick snoop around the delapidated station building at Selham. A delicious lunch at the The Three Moles followed. I feel very celebrated.
Must crack on and start editing Princetown to Yelverton, watch this space !
Sunday evening I returned from Devon having had one of the most rewarding railway filming sessions I have ever experienced. My aim was to film the Princetown to Yelverton line and sneak in to see some favourites in the area.
Having written for permission, I was warmly welcomed at Yelverton station site by the owner, who’s family has kept it as a nature reserve since 1964. I was given an extensive tour and then left to film and take pictures in my own time and enjoy the run of the place. It is an absolutely beautiful spot and I hope to put some pictures up on my site shortly. Due to the growth that has largely been allowed to go unchecked for over 40 years, long vistas are not the order of the day. However, plenty of platform, a 641 yard long tunnel and other clues remain.
I was also welcomed at Dousland station and took numerous shots there. Other than that, I cycled the trackbed in its entirety from Princetown down to just short of Dousland. The sites of the various halts and even a peep into one of the quarries are included.
Waiting for me at Burrator Halt was my good friend Bob Spalding, a fellow enthusiast who lives in that part of the world. A couple of his photos feature on the web page Fabulous places. Thanks for making the effort Bob ! Thanks for the pint too !
This was a film I’ve been wanting to make for ages, finally realised. Not only that, but the weather was stunningly generous and made the whole thing a treat to be involved in. I am currently editing, but it could be a few weeks until this one is ready.
I also went exploring around Mary Tavy station and slipped under the wire at Lydford junction station. Numerous books will tell you there’s not much left to see at Lydford, but the open platforms of LSWR and GWR sat right next to each other are still there to see, which was a fantastic thrill and I got some great footage of them. At Mary Tavy I concentrated more on filming the parallel trackbeds of the LSWR and GWR and the long vistas off to the south as opposed to being too intrusive at the station itself, but the two splendid granite bridges there were too impressive not to include.
I will probably release a short Mary Tavy/Lydford “as they are today” type film combining the two of them. Watch this space.
Without doubt the most exciting bit of venturing I’ve done for a long time and quite fun to finally take the name of Dumpman Films out of Sussex. Just for good measure, on the way home, I scampered up the massive embankment where the A272 runs in a tunnel under the Meon Valley Line and a delightful stretch it was too.
Delighted to announce that I have been given permission to enter the incredibly private and fortified Yelverton station, just hoping that the weather is kind enough to allow me to travel the whole line. More details as soon as I have them, very very excited.
Concerning the Princetown to Yelverton project, I am delighted to be able to report that the owner of Dousland station has responded to my letter and invited me to visit and film his property. This is great news, he sounds like a nice chap and I’m very much looking forward to meeting him. Also, as a result of having an aunt who lives in Mary Tavy, who has a friend in Yelverton, who knows the name of the station site owner, I have been able to write to them directly and am hopeful that they may allow me in to film.
If you look at the section of my website that lists links to other websites (“Wonderful websites”), you will see an entry towards the bottom of the list that shows some superb photos of Yelverton station, past and present.
Anyone who bought the Redgate Mill to Heathfield film please get in touch (all three of you). I am adding to Disc 3 to include some aerial shots of Mayfield station from the late 1950s and will happily send you a free replacement disc. I had meant to include it first time round, but due moving house I couldn’t find the photo.
Quite excited at the moment as an opportunity to film somewhere really special has come up, quite a departure for Dumpman Films. I’m going to be 40 on the 8th of April and my plan is to scoot down to Dartmoor and do some filming of the railways in that part of the world.
I did walk the Princetown to Yelverton branch in 1980 with my father and even then thought it was quite special. My plan is to be dropped off in Princetown with the Raleigh Chopper and take a leisurely ride down the moor while filming the whole journey. This has been an ambition of mine for some time and to do it on my 40th birthday just seems perfect. I have written to the owners of the notoriously difficult to access Yelverton station so hopefully access may be gained.
I will hopefully also make time to visit and film parts of the Granite Way and the disused stations of Tavistock, Mary Tavy and Lydford Junction. Hopefully the weather will be forgiving enough for some reasonable footage ! Updates nearer the time or just after as they appear. Beside myself with excitement.
A number of folk have asked what camera and editing equipment I use so I thought a brief description might be in order; it’s laughably basic and old technology.
I film using an old Sony 8mm camcorder (the CCD TR series). I actually have two or three working and ready for use at any one time, but most of it is now done on a TR3200E which I think is a fabulous machine and analogue down to its core. All of them have a steady shot facility to try and reduce the seasick effect if I’m walking or cycling at the same time as filming. I always use metal particle tapes, which turn up quite cheap for these cameras now that the technology is considered such old hat.
Recorded material is then transferred from the camera direct to a dvd recorder. This is of the variety that works like an old video recorder rather than anything to do with computers, I tend to avoid them. So stereo sound track travels down straight forward phono wires and the picture travels down an S video cable to try and maintain as much picture clarity as possible.
The editing procedure is simple: I press pause on the dvd player when I want to chop a piece out ! That’s all there is ! It’s amazing what you can do with just the basic tools. I try to keep the dvd disc length down to a minimum, also to preserve picture quality; two hours as a maximum, but one hour as a preference. Once the I have a master disc of the film it is ready for copying. Copying is simply done between another dvd player and the recording dvd player. Quality diminishing is minimal, but the only downside is that every disc I produce is recorded in real time, think of all those recording hours ! It is running all the time.
I hope that answers most of the questions on production, although don’t hesitate to ask if you want to know any more.
Redgate Mill to Heathfield is now available, I will add full details in the film catalogue shortly.
Redgate Mill to Heathfield is now filmed and being edited into something coherent; I will of course announce it’s availability as soon as I’m done.
Almost on a whim, I decided to make a film covering the Tunbridge Wells West line, which I completed yesterday and is ready now. I got some nice views of the old station building by clambering on the embankments overlooking Sainsbury’s car park, much to the bemusement of some of the shoppers ! I also ventured into the old building to get some nice up close footage of the fabulous decorative features. From then on, it was along the old trackbed, through the tunnel and then following as much trackbed as possible (most of it) to the junction with the current line. Great fun short project that I’d been meaning to do for years but never quite got round to it. It was a nice antidote to the arduous slog of Redgate Mill to Heathfield.
Finally ! I’ve made a start on Redgate Mill to Heathfield. It has been fairly hard going as anticipated, but haven’t yet come up against any impossible obstacles, just a couple of minor diversions as some folk have extended their gardens on to the trackbed. Some really impressive sights to see, some fantastic relics, a couple of collapsed (or destroyed) bridges, the superb Argos Hill tunnel, a tour around Rotherfield station and much much more. Watch this space for a release date.
Here’s a ridiculous name dropping story for you. Saw a very pregnant Zoe Ball in a local garage/supermarket a couple of weeks ago, just before she gave birth. She was carrying a big basket of shopping and proceeded to drop a couple of pizzas at my feet as I passed. Naturally I picked them helpfully and was then seized by the urge to offer her one of my Dumpman cards, which I did, blurting out how it might be of interest. She did the best job of looking politely interested you have ever seen !
18th January 2010
After copious amounts of chiropractic treatment and faithfully doing all the exercises that I’ve been told to do, the back injury seems to be abating, which is a great relief. I am now looking to take a week in early February to crack on with some new material before the leaves of spring creep in and obscure those trackbed views. Hopefully the weather will be kind. Sorry for the delay, watch this space !
Happy new year to you and thanks for your interest in the films if that applies to you.
This crazy weather has at least given me the opportunity to nip out and film a bit more for the Balcombe Viaduct dvd as I particularly wanted to get some footage of it in the snow.
On the down side, the injury I sustained earlier in the year has turned out to be a disc injury. This means that short forays to the viaduct are one thing, but prolonged tramping down overgrown trackbeds such as Redgate Mill – Heathfield or Midhurst – Petersfield are sadly not on the cards at this point in time. I’m having chiropractic treatment and faithfully doing all the exercises I’ve been advised to do to speed recovery, but putting a date on being back in the full swing of things is impossible.
However, be in no doubt that as soon as I am able, I will be back out filming big time with a huge appetite and plenty of ideas for entertaining adventures.
Happy Christmas to you.
Many thanks to everyone to popped along to say hello at the Lewes and Hurstpierpoint craft fairs; it’s always nice to put faces to names etc. I will be booking some more craft fairs in the new year and will publicise the dates as soon as they are confirmed. The very best to you and yours for a Happy Christmas and healthy 2010.
Dates that I am doing craft fairs are:
- 3rd December Lewes Late Night Shopping 5pm to 9pm
- 5th December Hurstpierpoint 10am to 4pm
This is a slimmed down version of what I did last year, but having just moved house, things are a bit busy at home ! If you are passing and want to pop in and say hello then please do.
I am booking a couple of craft fairs in Sussex in the lead up to Christmas, the dates of which I will post here shortly.
Had some excitement this week as I was contacted by none other than Mr Vic Mitchell of Middleton Press. Anyone with an interest in disused railways will be familiar with the spectacular selection of authoritative books that have emerged from Middleton Press over the last twenty years and also how good they are. So many railway enthusiasts use them as guidance for seeking out places that would be almost impossible to find without the detail and passion that goes into these books. I somewhat shyly sent off one of my films for his perusal and have yet to hear what he made of it.
Quite delighted as I’ve approached to film and document the restoration of a Royal Observer Corps bunker. Not being deliberately irritating and mysterious, but I have been asked not to announce the whereabouts of this bunker until works have been completed. I can tell you that it is an excellent example and it is in mid Sussex, all will be revealed ! The idea is that it will be restored to its former glory and may possibly be visitable in times to come as part of these “heritage open days” that seem to be sweeping this area. As soon as I am allowed to tell you more I will.
Having found a spare day, I raced down towards Selsey today, camera in hand. A number of folk who bought the Selsey Tramway Tour 2006 got in touch and told me that some changes had gone on and I should go down and film them.
Firstly, the remains of lifting bridge at Hunston have been cleared and a short section of ballasted track has been laid to show the direction of travel. You can clearly see the bases of the uprights that made up the lifting bridge frame. Just to top it off, they have placed an axle with wheels on the track which looks great. An old lady who was sitting on the bench told me that the wheels had been found in the canal ! True or not, it is a good story.
Secondly, the station remains at Chalder Farm have been cleared, although they are fast being overgrown again from what I saw today. You can clearly discern the platform and base of the station building. A timber upright sticking out of the ground could be part of the old station sign !
Both sites well worth a visit for anyone who is interested in the Selsey Tram. I will add the new footage to subsequent copies of my 2006 film.
Many thanks to everyone who came down to say hi at the Rockinghorse event at Brighton station today. Quite bizarre to have a number of people come up and say “oh yes I’ve had one of yours”, thanks for the feedback. I also had some interesting chats with a number of train drivers who had informative points to make. All good stuff.
Gearing up for the Rockinghorse Appeal show that is taking place this coming Sunday the 23rd in Brighton station; it promises to be fun. Do come and say hello if you’re passing.
I’m slowly edging closer to completing the Balcombe Ouse Valley Viaduct film, but still need to add a few more essential shots that I do not yet have. Other than that, I’m still hoping to crack on with Midhurst to Petersfield and Redgate Mill to Heathfield later this year as soon as I can find the time. A few people have expressed a preference for films made in the winter when there are fewer leaves and visibility is better so maybe I should follow that advice.
I’ve just enjoyed a lovely break in the Isle of Wight. Although little activity was completed in the film making department due to time constraints, I did see some great sights, some of which I’ve not seen for many years.
The northern entrance to the tunnel serving the Ventnor West line was a mushroom farm with a little old man sitting at the entrance with a till and a set of scales last time I visited in 1998, but now it just looks closed up. Last time I was there I walked the length of it inbetween the rows of mushrooms, enjoyed mushroom man’s little museum of railway pictures and then walked through the undergrowth to find the southern portal near St Lawrence station.
This time, apart from visiting the northern portal, I only drove over the road bridge at St Lawrence. The station building there looks very run down and as though it is no longer inhabited. Someone needs to buy it and restore it ! Having had a quick look at the www.28dayslater.co.uk site, you can see that someone has been in there fairly recently and that the mushroom growing appears to have ceased.
I also managed to find the site of the main station at Ventnor where the southern portal is now bricked up, but the quarry that the station was set in (now an industrial estate) is still kind of evocative when you look at old photographs. Anyway, other than that it was touring the IOW just enjoying all the normal tourist sites. I would love to move there for a month and do all the railways !
I had a very enjoyable time this last Sunday exploring Lywood tunnel on the Ardingly branch line. It wasn’t a filming opportunity, but it is always a treat to see this place and always a treat to get out with the guys from Ghost Trains. Ghost Trains run a superb website that is full of information about Brighton that is highly recommended. I will put the web address in my list of favoured sites shortly.
Also greatly looking forward to the Rockinghorse Charity Fun Day at Brighton station on Sunday the 23rd of August; I will be there with a table full of my dvds and a portable dvd player, come and say hello if you are nearby. Further details at: http://www.brightonlinecommuters.org/station-event.html
Clayton Railway Tunnel and Cottage is now available with far more interesting work on it than the version I did earlier in the year.
I was very lucky to enjoy a return trip to Clayton Tunnel Cottage this last weekend just gone. Having been there to film before in February, I was interested to see how it would differ in the summer months and I also wanted to achieve some interesting shots that weren’t possible last time I visited.
Firstly, my kind host had purchased himself a series of ladders that meant we could actually climb to the top of one the turrets and check out the breathtaking view.
Secondly, having cleared a load of foliage from the manhole cover, we were able to enter what has become known as the “secret passage”. A horizontal brick service tunnel goes from the back of the cottage into the hillside directly above the roof of the main railway tunnel. After a few yards the tunnel intersects with a much larger, vertical shaft. It is of similar dimensions to the ventilation shafts that service the tunnel, but is capped off and there is no sign of it on the hillside.
We lowered a ladder down (about 8-10′) and descended the shaft onto a curved brick floor and suddenly realised that we were most probably standing on the roof of the tunnel, on the outer most course of bricks. While pondering this and hoping that the structure was sound, the rumble of an approaching train created a fantastic blast of air that came up through cracks and imperfections in the brickwork ! Clearly we were on the roof of the tunnel and the air compressed by a train along the tunnel indicated maybe the old LBSCR brickwork wasn’t that perfect after all ! A swift exit ensued ! But not before plenty of footage to show what we’d found was taken.
As soon as I get a little bit of time I will edit this together for general viewing.
In the last few days I’ve heard that another part of Hellingly Mental Hospital has been set alight although I’m not sure how much damage has resulted. I’m glad I got in when I did !
I’m in the process of trying to move house at the moment so the productivity of the filming department is suffering somewhat. I do now have very nearly all the footage that I need to a job on the Balcombe Viaduct film, so that will hopefully emerge shortly.
The various craft fairs were fun and it is always fun when someone comes along and says hello; thanks to those that did. I’m very much looking forward to the Rockinghorse event in August and I’m also looking to book some more from October onwards. There is a craft fair in Balcombe towards the end of June (think its the 27th, but it might be the 20th) that I will be attending if anyone is passing.
Mobility somewhat improved ! Looks like I will be able to make some of these films this year after all, hurrah etc.
I’m doing some craft fairs in the near future, so if you’re nearby and want to come and introduce yourself then please do. Here’ s a few dates for you:
Friday 15th May, Lindfield King Edward Hall 9am-12 midday
Friday 22nd May, Cuckfield Queen’s Hall 9am-12 midday
Sunday 23rd August, Rockinghorse Appeal Event Brighton Station ,think it is an all day event but I will write more as I find out. Delighted to be attending an event that is held in Brighton Station though !
I will be trying to get involved in other craft fairs and shows and as and when I do I will post details here.
Knee injury is continuing to prevent me doing any reasonable distance on foot which is irritating in the extreme. However, I have a couple of projects to be getting on with. Although I filmed the course of the Selsey Tram in 2006, I have been contacted recently by a chap indicating that some parts of it have been cleared to show more of what remains. This includes the lifting bridge at Hunston and the station area at Chalder Farm, most exciting. I will be visiting these areas in the next month or so and will add new footage to my 2006 film as an extra.
If my lack of mobility continues then I will embark on filming the Disused Stations of Sussex as this will involve less walking and more motoring. I had hoped to do a film on the Midhurst to Petersfield stretch this summer, but I’m not sure if that will be possible now, wait and see ! It is the last remaining stretch of regular railway that I have not filmed in Sussex, so I think some sort of party is in order when it’s done. Next stop, Kent and Hampshire !
I had a great afternoon meeting like minded souls Loz, Geoff, Nick and their buddy (whose name I can’t remember) and having a nose around the disused railways in Lewes. Due to a damaged knee, I didn’t get to walk up the disused section through the deep cutting at Malling to the missing river crossing onto Hamsey Insand. However, I did get to stroll around the wonderful “Railway Land” where all the sidings used to be and appreciate where the viaduct used to be; we even saw a few visible remains which was most exciting.
Then we retired to the John Harvey to discuss our findings, very nice it was too.
This week sees the release of the hotly anticipated Crowhurst to Bexhill West film. I’m actually putting the finishing touches as we speak, but it will be definitely ready to ship at the end of the week. It is another sprawling epic consisting of 3 dvds checking in at just over 3 hours. No stone unturned etc and plenty of attention to the structures that will most likely be demolished to allow passage of the bypass. It was great fun to shoot and quite challenging in places as it is by no means open to the public all the way through. See film catalogue for full resume of the contents.
I’m out on tour again ! Tomorrow I will be setting out my stall in Steyning. I can’t quite remember the address, but it is a craft fair that is always well sign-posted from most main roads in to the village. If you’re around then pop in and say hi; it runs from 10-4pm. I also have craft fairs booked for the following Fridays:
17th April and 15th May: King Edward Hall in Lindfield (9-12pm)
24th May and 22nd May: Queen’s Hall in Cuckfield (9-12pm)
I had an interesting evening with the Southern Electric Group in Southwick this evening. They asked if they could screen a couple of my films (Devil’s Dyke Railway and Kemp Town Branch) and I thought I would go along. I was particularly interested to see what it would feel like sitting in an audience (of about 50-60) of railway types watching my material. It’s amazing how self critical you end up feeling ! I realised that there is a difference between what is interesting to an individual who can scan ahead, go back, pause etc with the flexibility of dvd and what is interesting to an audience who have to travel at your pace. On more than one occasion I found myself thinking that I had laboured certain views too long, but despite that it was a very interesting evening and I met some fantastic people. My grateful thanks to Bruce and Mike for making me so welcome.
Today was another exciting one. Apart from being lovely weather, I ventured over to Bexhill to finish off the filming for Crowhurst to Bexhill, which feels like it has been a long time in coming. I went along to the site of Sidley station and introduced myself to the motorbike training people there who were happy for me to scramble all over the site. Having thoroughly examined the site and found a few interesting things, I set off south, happily trespassing my way down towards Bexhill West station. To my delight, I managed to access all the track bed between Sidley and Bexhill leisure centre, which I didn’t think was going to be possible. It is impossible to imagine it being a bypass, but there for all to see are numerous laminated notices of compulsory purchase for all the necessary pockets of land. As soon as I have finished editing I will advertise this film, I guess in the next couple of weeks or at least before the end of March. Its certainly been one of the most interesting ones to do, with the added ingredient of the bypass thrown in.
I also investigated the disused link between Polegate and Stone Cross. Anyone who has looked at it before will tell you that the bit between Polegate and the A22 is easily travelled as it is a bridleway. However, once you cross the A22, it soon descends into a cutting that is impossible to travel. Without doubt, the stretch that runs from the A22 to the east towards Stone Cross junction is absolutely the most overgrown stretch of disused railway I have come across in Sussex. It runs along the south side of a dreadful, legoland housing estate. Oddly, there is a green lane that runs to the north side of the trackbed that I think belongs to Southern Water as an access route for them. There are sturdy green, steel gates that attempt to prevent you entering this green corridor, but as numerous folk have slipped round the sides of them over the years, access is very easy. I decided not to film, as access to the actual trackbed is largely not possible, but for anyone who wants to walk next to this stretch, just navigate your way to the south side of the legoland housing estate and you will most likely find your way to the embankment. It is isn’t stunning, but there are one or two access bridges hidden away there. Possibly only for the completist !
I started making a short film about the Balcombe Viaduct today (or Ouse Valley Viaduct if you prefer). Nothing new, secret or disused about that I admit, but I have fond memories of illicitly scampering across the top of it as a child and had meant to go back and have a look just for fun. You may be relieved to know I didn’t go up to track level this time, but I did enjoy looking at it from as many different angles as possible, including distant views as seen from Cuckfield.
In the 1980s, it was said that a brick fell out every time a train went over and you could see large sandstone (or sedimentary stone of some sort) blocks that had come unstuck from the parapets and hurtled to the ground. Looking up, you could see the gaps where they had come from, like missing teeth. The fact that they were the size of a car engine meant certain death if you got hit by one. One of the most amusing activities was to lie in the cut-out of one of the piers when a train went over and feel the substantial movement.
Nowadays, a plaque stating the years of renovation (96-99) is visible at the northern end. Interestingly, there is still evidence of masonry coming down, but it is fragments now rather than lumps.
This film will show views that you can only get from being right up close, so if you live way away from it and fancied a look it may be of interest. If you live locally then I should go and have a look for yourself as it is always impressive. I imagine I will have it available in the next few weeks.
Coming off the subject of railways for a minute, I’m eternally grateful to the gentleman that emailed me and politely pointed out that the bunker I had explored at Billingshurst was a “Royal Observer Corps” bunker not a “Observatory Corps” one as I had stated. How embarrassing ! I have changed all the references to it on the site (I think); anyone else like to point out any error ?!
I realised a long held ambition today, which was to enter the fantastic Bexhill West station building. Having contacted the man in charge who heads up Gorringes auctioneers there, I was allowed in to film under supervision. The views were superb and there were plenty of original features left to see, although it was sad to see that the building is in need of some restoration. Bizarrely, it is not a listed building, which seems insane to me. Certainly, it is unique and without doubt an asset to the history of Bexhill. All will be revealed once I have finished filming the rest of the line.
Today I had the great pleasure meeting David Porter, the current resident of Tunnel Cottage, Clayton Tunnel. Ever since I was a child, the fascination with this building has endured and to actually have the opportunity to go and look at it up close was breathtaking.
Now a grade 2 listed building, the facade in front of the north portal of Clayton tunnel is a wonder to behold. Nestling over the top of it is Tunnel Cottage with all the eccentricities and charm that you would imagine from a place such as this. I filmed the outside of the building from all angles and got the chance to see the bird’s eye view looking north that the cottage enjoys. Trackside views showed close up what the building really looks like. Watch this space for the release of this film.
Having filmed the majority of Crowhurst to Bexhill West, I’m delighted to have been given permission to enter the wonderful old station building at the terminus in Bexhill. Opportunities for filming will be limited as the proprietors of the business there are auctioneers and they have their security to consider, but I’m informed that some shots under supervision will be allowed.
Naturally, footage of the outside of the building is not a problem, but I’m particularly happy to be able to get a look inside; many original features remain. Apparently, this building is not listed in any way, which seems to me to be ridiculous as it is quite special.
My intention is to finish filming Crowhurst to Bexhill during February and have it available for early March.
I have also been out filming various places to capture winter views without the problem of leaves obscuring them. Most of my material is shot in the summer for better light and more pleasurable walking, but some views are better in the winter months. One of these is the disused Guildford platforms at Christ’s Hospital station. Get on down there and have a look for yourself now that the bridleway from Baystone Bridge is clear, its a lovely little walk.
Went along to the Bluebell East Grinstead site for the formal handing over of a string of old coaches, which I think I’m right in saying will form the first train south when it runs. What interested me most was the opportunity to walk over the viaduct rather than slyly filming through the gate from the southern end. You don’t get much of a view as the parapet walls are quite high (over 6′) but it was nice to have an amble along it before the trains return. Great pomp as formal announcements were made and veteran members looked on misty eyed, a great day.
Had an interesting day watching other people’s films last weekend. I was invited to be a judge at film competition known as the North vs South. This involves numerous amateur film making clubs competing against each other and it is divided up between the north and south of the country. I was honoured to be asked and thoroughly enjoyed watching ten short titles before discussing them with the other judges. I soon realised what an amateur I am ! Hopefully I’ll be involved in similar future events as it was most interesting.
3rd January 2009
Fantastic filming session today. Started at Crowhurst at 8.00am in the freezing cold and then worked my way down the line to Sidley. Numerous good views, especially in the Combe Haven valley where the viaduct used to be and where the bypass will now run. I have yet to do the stretch from Sidley to Bexhill West as its a bit more complicated, but watch this space as I hope to have it available in the next month or so. Great fun spotting the numerous brick remains left from the demolition of the viaduct ! Quite tragic seeing the course of the bypass on a map while looking at the land it will affect.
I have just found out that the relevant local authority have infact given the go ahead for the construction of the long discussed Bexhill bypass. Having had a little nose around the internet, I’ve found evidence of this road being discussed as early as 1972, but now it seems that despite spectacular opposition it will most probably be built. My interest in it is that the new road cuts across the old Crowhurst to Bexhill branch line at Adam’s Farm (near the northern end of the former viaduct) and then follows the course of the old line from just north of Sidley, right the way down to the A259 in Bexhill. If you have a look at the following link http://editorial.jpress.co.uk/4780874/ESCC%20road%20map.pdf you can see the proposed course of the bypass for yourself and the way in which it relates to the old railway.
There is no doubt that it will ruin that charming valley and of course the visible remains of the old railway; rest assured I will get in there first to make a film and preserve the views ! What I would like to do is return as the road is built capture the changes. My sympathies lie with the residents of Adam’s Farm as their property will be chopped in half along with their impressive railway embankment !
I have also been in discussion with the resident of Tunnel Cottage at Clayton in the hope of being allowed to film views of his home. This extraordinary building, which effectively is the northern portal of Clayton Tunnel on the London Brighton mainline needs looking at more closely, watch this space !
I had the pleasure of watching the fabulous “Bittern” pulling a train through Haywards Heath and Hove and captured it on a short film. For those that don’t know, this is the same series of loco as the Mallard that broke speed records (125mph !) way back in 1938. Regulars will know that I’m less interested in rolling stock and more interested in the civil engineering aspects of the railways, but having a steamer roll through on the mainline is always an impressive sight.
Halfway through the “tour”, thank you kindly to those of you who popped down to say hello and introduce yourselves, it’s always nice to put a face to a name. I’m unlikely to have any new titles out til next year now, but may use some of the Christmas break to try and get some material on Crowhurst – Bexhill.
Demolition of the Pullman Works dvd is released today ! I was lucky enough to capture a section of the roof coming down during the demolition process and got a couple of interesting views from moving trains ! Sad to see the building go, but not altogether suprised.
I’ve just been watching the demolition of the old Pullman works near Brighton station, quite a sight ! I will hopefully manage to film quite a bit of the demolition process as it progresses and release a short film. My plan is to take a train or two past the site and film it from the carriage as well as shooting footage from the roads nearby. Already got some good shots of part of the roof tumbling down.
I am on tour in the next few months, Dumpman on the road ! No tour t-shirts available, but below is the gig list. I’m doing a variety of craft fairs (rock and roll !) and these are they:
- 8th November – Hassocks, Adastra Hall, Keymer Road
- 15th November – Uckfield, Civic Centre, Bell Farm Lane
- 29th November – Crowborough, Beacon Community College
- 4th December – Lewes Late Night. Town Hall, Fisher Street
- 6th December – Henfield, Village Hall, High Street
- 20th December – Shoreham, Shoreham Centre, Pond Road
They are all morning to afternoon events apart from the Lewes late night shopping one, which runs from 5pm to 9pm. If you’re passing then pop by and say hello. By then I hope to have completed my demo disc which will contain tiny, tantalising segments of all the films and I will be giving them away as freebies.
Visiting relatives in Tavistock in Devon gave me a brief but great opportunity to see some old railways in that area. The stretch between Tavistock and Lydford being of particular interest. Two separate railway companies ran competing lines up the same valley here, often with the lines literally side by side.
I got have a look at station sites at Tavistock, Mary Tavy, Brentor and Lydford junction. Mary Tavy offers a fantastic view of the two embankments travelling side by side across the slope of a lush green field next to the river. Brentor station building is all still beautifully intact. Lydford junction station has all been almost completely removed from the landscape, but the open spaces that this double station site used to inhabit are superbly evocative. The National Trust owns Lydford Gorge too, which features a short stretch of GWR embankment. Anyone visiting this area is highly recommended to visit these places. Also worth looking at is the The Granite Way, a footpath/cyclepath going along the trackbed further north from where I was exploring; fantastic granite viaducts to be seen.
Sadly, I didn’t do any filming on this occasion as time was simply too scarce, but I would very much like to go back and capture some of these images.
BBC 4 had a superb railway evening with lots of relevant programmes recently too.
Fantastic day spent with the Railway Ramblers exploring the Hop Picker’s line between Paddock Wood and Hawkhurst. I met many interesting people who I had only emailed previously and the weather was fantastic. Sadly, I had to leave the group before getting the chance to explore Badger’s Oak tunnel and Hawkhurst station, but numerous great sites were seen anyway. Most entertaining was a very deep cutting (partially filled in) and tunnel in Horsmonden.
Not been filming what with this spectacular rainfall ! I enjoyed a lecture given in Haywards Heath library by Bill Gage (excellent name for a railway boffin) on last Friday the 5th. He showed some great slides and I would recommend anyone to attend a future event hosted by him.
Currently working on a demo disc which will contain clips of all the films to use for publicity purposes. I am also hoping to attend a number of craft fairs in November and December to sell some films. Once the dates for this are finalised I will publish them here; come along and say hi !
17th August 2008:
Currently in the process of trying to obtain more permission for access on to property to make the filming of Crowhurst to Bexhill West a bit easier. Actual filming unlikely to take place til the autumn.
I have put some more grainy stills up on the slide show page to take in some of the recently completed films and also added a Midhurst to Chichester slide show in it’s own right. Enjoy the lo-fi quality !
26th July 2008:
Released today is:
- Midhurst to Chichester
21st July 2008:
Released today are:
- Hardham Canal Tunnel
- Midhurst to Pulborough (Hardham Junction)
- Baystone Bridge to Christ’s Hospital
I’m happy to say that a friend and previous customer provided me with some great vintage photos of Christ’s Hospital station which I have included in the last film on that list.
23rd July 2008:
Had a week off work to do some filming and had cracking weather for it. I’ve managed to gather enough footage to create the following:
- Midhurst to Chichester old railway
- Midhurst to Hardham junction old railway
- Baystone Bridge to Christ’s Hospital station
- Hardham canal tunnel
These are all at the editing stage currently, but should be available in the next two or three weeks.
Midhurst to Chichester was tremendously exciting to do, what with all the deep cuttings and tunnels through the Downs. Some of the cuttings at the tunnel mouths are terrifying with large chalk overhangs and plenty of evidence of major rockfalls at the bottom of the sheer sided slopes. I was also given permission to roam around the enormous layout of Singleton station, but sadly not around Cocking station. I will be including some old footage of the tunnels as I have some of Cocking tunnel before it was fenced off and I will also be using footage from a couple of years ago for the trip south of Singleton as I cycled it and it came out quite nicely, including Lavant station.
Midhurst to Hardham junction was a longer trawl than I had anticipated, but a very rewarding trek. Got a look inside Midhurst tunnel when the lock was broken ! Much of it was cyclable on the way to Selham. Managed to sneak onto the edge of the polo field at Ambersham to get a good look at the lovely embankment in their field. Also got a look at the earthworks where they started to build a station near Ambersham common, but left unfinished. A sneaky peek at Selham station, then a full on filming session at Petworth station where the owner is a great supporter of mine, may he live forever. Hard going and very overgrown towards Fittleworth and only a passing glance of the station there as permission was not granted and it is well shrouded in trees. East of Fittleworth saw some overgrown patches, but then a lovely open stretch to the finish at Hardham junction.
Baystone bridge to Christ’s Hospital has only recently been opened up after some years of legal wrangles. Technically you’re only allowed up to the boundary of the station, but naturally Dumpman Films went in boots an’ all and had a good shufty. A variety of goodies to see along the way, including some old signal rodding, track and even some LBSCR railchairs that I’m sure won’t be there for long. Of course the old platforms are the thing of greatest interest and I filmed them from as many different angles as possible, great fun and well worth a visit.
Hardham canal tunnel is a fascinating structure. I think it dates back to 1790 and looking at it, you’d have to be fairly tired of life to crawl into it. I managed to get good shots of it from both ends with a 5,000,000 candle power torch that really lit it up along it’s length. The footpath bridge that crosses the current Pulborough to Arundel line that used to be used for the towpath horses was being re-built at the time of my visit so I included some footage of that too.
All in all, a fairly busy few days filming !
27th June 2008:
Just been for walk down the newly cleared stretch of Downs Link, between Baystone Bridge and Christ’s Hospital station, very exciting ! After a hotly contested legal battle between the local authority and landowner, this last stretch has been opened up as a bridleway. It is a delightful stretch with some interesting relics along the way. Technically you are not allowed into the remains of Christ’s Hospital station, but it’s the easiest thing just to stroll in, very well worth it. I will be making a short film of this in the next week or so to compliment my Guildford to Christ’s Hospital film.
6th June 2008:
I am planning to film a number of locations in early July with a view to releasing new titles later that month. All the lines that used to serve Midhurst will be the main focus, but I hope to take in some other lines too, such as the Crowhurst to Bexhill West one. Watch this space…
3rd May 2008:
Great to be back in the saddle ! I visited Lyminster today and re-traced the stretch of coastal mainline that was abandoned in the late 1800s when they diverted it to make the triangle junction. (Check your OS map). Although there is not an enormous amount to see, it was possible to re-create the exact course of the track. Most interesting and challenging was struggling through the dense undergrowth in the area known as the “triangle”. Again a quick look at the map will show you why this is so. True to his word, the landowner allowed me full access and provided me with some home cine footage from 1975 showing the demolition of a brick access bridge. This will be included in the film that should be available this week.
13th March 2008:
My wife gave birth to our first child today, called Emily. Both mother and daughter are doing well, consequently filming escapades are on hold for a while ! Hoping to get to the little disused stretch at Lyminster and do a job at Hellingly station in April, will get back to you then.
9th March 2008:
I now have a slide show on the website featuring some of my favourite views, taken from stills from all the films; running time is around six and a half minutes. They were taken by photographing the laptop while the films were in pause mode, so the quality is pretty grainy, but the idea is just to represent some of the views. Enjoy !
5th March 2008:
Never got to Hellingly, was laid up in bed with flu ! Hope to get there in April sometime. I will be off filming for a while as I am just about to become a parent for the first time, so don’t expect too much filming news here for a little while !
1st March 2008:
Very happy to have been invited to film at Hellingly station today. Having already done a little feature on the Hellingly Asylum branch line, I know the area quite well, but an opportunity to film the station thoroughly is very welcome. This will be included in the Disused Stations of Sussex film that I am working on.
5th February 2008:
All future copies of Sheffield Park to Lewes now to include the Barcombe station footage.
27th January 2008:
I’ve had a lovely afternoon at Barcombe Cross station on the old Bluebell line. Having written to the owner I was invited to film to my heart’s content and I did just that. Fabulous weather and light gave me great views of the building all round, in particular the platform side. Interesting to see the now bricked up road bridge, which was shored up from falling down earlier last year. I will include this footage in future copies of Sheffield Park to Lewes and also in the Disused Railway Stations of Sussex dvd that I am currently working on. My sincere thanks go to the owner of Barcombe station.
26th January 2008:
Happy news ! Having posted a friendly letter to a variety of locations and landowners, along with a free film, I received a delightful phone call this morning inviting me to go and film around the junctions of Lyminster (as mentioned last week below). The farmer has lived there all his life and remembers playing in the cutting as a child. He even reckoned he had video footage (converted from Super 8) of the brick hump back access bridge to his farm being demolished at the time the cutting was filled in in the mid 70s. If I am allowed to use it I will include it in a film about this fascinating, quiet little backwater of the railway system.
Also had a quick look at the entrance to Steyning Royal Observatory Bunker and decided that I’d have to nip back there soon and film it. Its in a lovely location and apparently is in excellent condition inside.
20th January 2008:
Today I drove over to the Lyminster area of Littlehampton in the hope of filming a variety of things. I wanted to get the site of the old Lyminster station, the site of the old rolling bridge over the river Arun and in particular the abandoned trackbed that runs through the middle of the triangular junction just east of the river crossing, check your OS map if you’re in doubt.
Nothing much left to see of Lyminster station, just an area that’s been cleared with a pile of rubble; land about to be sold by the railway ? The bridge over the Arun is of course still there, but the only evidence of the original bridge is a couple of Victorian brick piers. The disused trackbed just east of the river that used to carry the main line before re-alignment is fairly hard to ascertain. The stretch east of the triangular junction can be just about worked out, although a gruff landowner informed me that any sign of it had been filled in by him 25 years ago and that it was private land. This made it somewhat tricky for me to wander into the area inside the triangular junction as it involved crossing more of his land. I have no doubt that there is still an embankment in there and with luck in the future I will get a shot of it.
On my way back through Shoreham I saw that the embankment at the end of the Downs Link had been completely stripped of vegetation, so naturally hopped up on to it to get some shots. I guess it must be in connection with all the building that’s going on there; I will keep my eye on it and film any further developments.
Finally, nearing home, I heard on the radio that the huge timber cargo of a stricken cargo ship was washing up on the coast, so I nipped down to Shoreham harbour and then Hove beach to get some shots, couldn’t believe my eyes !
Uckfield to Lewes film is now available ! See film catalogue for details.
A man called Stephen Lewis contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in doing a swap; some of my dvds for his book, which is called “Boots on the line; walking 1000 miles of dismantled railway”. I have to say I think I may have done better than him out of it as his book is superb. I’ve waxed lyrical about it and dedicated a page to it elsewhere on the site, highly recommended and I can assure you I’m not being paid to say this. Have a look at the page on this site that mentions the book and get in touch with him for more details.
December – I’ve been contacted by the Railway Ramblers association which is a nice surprise. Apparently a happy customer who is also a member gave me a favourable mention in their magazine for which I’m most grateful. Kindly, one of their members sent me a copy of Railway Ramblings, their publication, so I could see the Dumpman Films bit in it.
Interestingly, I also read in there that East Sussex County Council are spending £140,000 on a feasibility study to re-open the Uckfield-Lewes line. Even to those who remember the line running, it must be almost impossible to imagine certain bits of that line running again now. I’m very glad to have shot footage of the various bits of it, especially the Hamsey Loop, although clearly a re-instatement would take ages to implement. I will hurry up and finish filming the Uckfield to Barcombe end; probably bump into some boffin doing his feasibility study while I’m there ! Now that would make good television, if anyone knows when these guys are due down there then let me know and I’ll go and see what they’re up to…
28th November – Sheffield Park to Lewes released today, its a whopping 4 hours and 43 minutes long ! See Film Catalogue for more.
16th November – Views of Hellingly Mental Asylum has just been released which is now in the Film Catalogue.
18th November – Hellingly Hospital Branch Line has been released, also in Film Catalogue.
The Hamsey Loop Line has also been released.
Extra footage has been added to Offham Chalkpits.
Volk’s Seagoing Tramway (Daddy Long Legs) has been almost doubled in length with additional footage.
Just started working on Uckfield to Lewes. Anyone who collects railchairs should get on down to Uckfield’s old station. There are piles of the things ! The local kids make camps and have fires, burning the piles of old sleepers, which in turn leads to big piles of old railchairs ! Makes an impressive doorstop, but at 20kg, they’re quite hard work to cart back to the car (I imagine !)
It’s been a busy few weeks !