The Somerset & Dorset Railway (continued). Continuing our walk from Masbury to Shepton Mallet, this sequence takes us from south of Winsor Hill Tunnels to Bath Road and then Kilver Street (the A37). The railway crossed Kilver Street by an underbridge before running on to the imposing Charlton Road Viaduct (see next gallery), which immediately preceded the S&D's station in the town – 'Shepton Mallet (Charlton Road)'.
Above: One of the few railway structures to have been removed on this section is the underbridge on Forum Lane (grid reference ST 617448), but there is compensation in that a short public footpath has been dedicated over the next section of the line to the right of the photograph. Presumably, as at Thrupe Lane, lack of height accounts for this bridge's removal. The faced stone favoured by the railway makes some of its overgrown remains look like relics from the middle ages; only the white panel declaring the abutment's Engineer's Line Reference – for present day maintenance – gives the game away. 13th August 2016. (Mike Spearman)

Above: A view along the public footpath referred to in the caption above; the greens of early summer (rain-washed, as noted elsewhere in this series) make the scene particularly fresh and inviting. 24th June 2016. (Jeff Vinter)

Above: At the south end of the railway footpath, just north of Bath Road Viaduct in Shepton Mallet, this footbridge crosses the line. At this point, the trackbed is very clear due to works carried out on the viaduct in 2013-14 by, or for, the Historic Railways Estate of Highways England; contractors used the old railway for vehicular access, with this area accommodating their storage compound. Thanks to this activity, the vegetation in this area has been beaten back, which reinforces the impression that this really was part of an important main line. 24th June 2016. (Jeff Vinter)

Above: A view across the deck of Bath Road Viaduct, looking south. Access is barred at each end by high security fences, that at the north end having a padlocked gate to permit inspections. A lot of money was spent on repairs to this structure – which the local council reported as being to secure the arches so that no bricks could fall out and hit pedestrians or vehicles on the road below – but it seems perverse to keep it closed when a public footpath leads up to the north end and, from the south end, locals have created a de facto footpath along the old trackbed towards the town. 13th August 2016. (Mike Spearman)

Above: Two months before our walk, this was the view of Bath Road Viaduct from a public footpath on its north side. After the torrential rain during this visit, a recce for the walk itself, it was a relief whan the sun broke through at about 4 p.m. Bath Road was the tallest viaduct on the S&D network, although that fact is not immediately obvious from this photograph. 24th June 2016. (Jeff Vinter)

Above: This photograph, taken from Cowl Street, conveys a better impression of Bath Road Viaduct's height. The structure's width was doubled in the 1890s with the doubling of this section of the line, but on 1st February 1946 it suffered a terrible collapse. The junction between the old and new viaducts was a constant source of trouble, and on this fateful day the middle pier of the new viaduct gave way, taking with it the arches on either side. Fortunately, no train was crossing, nor were any vehicles passing on the road below. By today's standards, the re-building work was completed very quickly, with normal rail traffic resuming on 1st August. 13th August 2016. (Mike Spearman)

Above: As mentioned above, locals have created a de facto footpath along the S&D trackbed from south of Bath Road Viaduct, which leads most of the way to Kilver Street on the east side of the town. This is what this 'desire line' looks like in summer; it's a good place to gather blackberries in the autumn. 24th June 2016. (Jeff Vinter)

Left: Just before the trackbed reaches Kilver Street, impenetrable undergrowth forces walkers to divert on to a parallel footpath, which takes them beneath this pedestrian underpass whose high parapets indicate clearly a railway origin. The white panel on the right of the arch looks like another Engineer's Line Reference, but no text was discernible on this visit. 24th June 2016. (Jeff Vinter)