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The Embankment Path

The footpath which runs along the old railway embankment now has an easier to navigate link to the Beaworthy Road

The Embankment Path

The Embankment Path can trace its origins back to the coming of the railway to Halwill in 1879. The path which runs from the Parish Hall to the Beaworthy Road once carried trains to and from London, Bude and even Great Torrington. Where dog walkers and couples now stroll, enjoying the peace and tranquility of of the wooded walk, mighty engines once thundered carrying freight and passengers to the important exchange at Halwill. The Parish Council as part of its policy to encourage people out of their cars, is improving the path to make it more usable for everyone.

Railway time line

The railway arrives at Beaworthy

  • 1879 the station was opened by the London and South Western Railway (LSWR) following the extension of its line from Meldon Junction
  • 1884 a new line was constructed by the North Cornwall Railway south to Launceston which gave a direct through route to London Waterloo. The opening of the route south led to the renaming of the 1887 the station was renamed - to Halwill Junction. Eventually the village that grew up around the station would take on the same name
  • 1943 Eight sidings were built as part of the build up to D-Day. The site would eventually form part of the Football pitch and the buffers can still be seen at the children's play area
  • 1925 North Devon and Cornwall Junction Light Railway opened a line to Great Torrington

Decline and closure

  • 1950s and early 1960s with the increased use of the motorcar and road freight, it became unprofitable and a candidate for closure in the Beeching Report.
  • 1964 Halwill Junction was proposed for closure, Halwill saw its connecting lines close one by one over the next few years -on 1 March
  • 1965  the line north to Torrington closed to passengers  and those to Bude and Padstow on 3 October 1966, heralding the end for the formerly important railway junction.

A new lease of life

  • 1974 Halwill parish Council buys the sidings and embankment south of the Station to the Beaworthy Road
  • 1990 the Devon Wildlife Trust purchased the old Station site and a section of trackbed around Halwill to create a nature reserve
  • 1998 Devon County Council began works to enable a cycleway to cross the site; this was realised in April 2005 when a 2½ mile (4 kilometres) cycleway, forming part of the National Cycle Network, was opened which runs from the village centre via Beeching Close through the nature reserve and the woods. The section was opened as part of a plan by the County Council to extend the Tarka Trail to Hatherleigh, from where the Ruby Way will continue to Halwill Junction and then on to Holsworthy and Bude.


  • DCC involvement, cycle path

Shortly after acquiring the embankment the Parish Council entered into an agreement with Devon County Council to make the old rail bed suitable for use as a path. Eventually it was hoped to extend the path all the way to Thorndon Cross and eventually Okehampton. In the event this plan has proved to be impracticable as many of the new owners of the disused railway were unwilling to cooperate. Under Devon Counties management a kissing gate was put in at the Southern end of the path on the boundary between Halwill and Beaworthy. Unfortunately, Beaworthy were unwilling to cooperate with the County Council and the path ended at the boundary and there was a drop to the Beaworhty road which was difficult to negotiate.

  • Graded path and TAP fund.

Although the Embankment Path is well used by dog walkers and those out for an evening stroll as well as those walking to the heart of Halwill Junction from Beaworthy it has always ended with a bit of an abrupt drop at the Parish boundary

Revamped Access Path by the kissing gate - before

Revamped Access Path by the kissing gate - after

What is the TAP Fund?

A funding project bringing together county, district, town and parish councils is kick starting community projects across Devon. The 'Town and Parish Fund' or TAP is the name given to the initiative whereby Devon County Council allocates £1 per elector per annum and district councils contribute 10p per elector. This money is available for towns and parishes to join together to apply for funding that can make a difference to their communities


  • The future

    It is hoped to create additional graded access paths to link the Someslea area to the embankment path to take pedestrians and cyclists away from the busy main road.

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