Blandford Railway Arches, A community restoration project, Blandford

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Project Description

Conservation of Blandford Railway Arches

The Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway from Bath in north-east Somerset to Poole closed in 1969. The derelict arches are all that remain of the viaduct crossing the floodplain of the River Stour. These arches stood as a monument to the railway but served no particularly purpose. Due to their dangerous condition they had to be fenced off from the public.

Director, Phil Easton’s connection with the arches goes back to his travelling on the steam railway as a schoolboy. It was natural for WDA to take on the conservation of the arches as a Pro Bono Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project on behalf of the community. The work consisted of rebuilding damaged brickwork, creating a staircase access, providing railings and levelling the track bed. This has created a public view point, open daily, enabling visitors to look out over the river and water meadows.

Due to his local knowledge, Phil assisted editing of the fascinating information panels designed by local artist Flick Baker, which describe the history of the railway and the wildlife that can be seen from and around the arches.

Clients: Blandford Arches Railway Trust