The Somerset & Dorset Railway (continued). This final selection of S&D photographs brings us to Shepton Mallet, where – fortunately – Showerings purchased the massive Charlton Road Viaduct after the railway's closure in March 1966; we presume that they did this because the structure bordered their ornamental gardens. Due to the usual machinations of big business, Showerings no longer own the viaduct or the adjacent buildings and gardens, which now belong to Roger Saul (of Mulberry handbag fame) and trade as 'Kilver Court', an upmarket retail centre. However, in 2016 it was announced that four brothers in the Showerings family planned to return cider-making to Shepton by taking over the disused factory across the road from Kilver Court and upgrading it to become the new home of their award-winning 'Brothers' range of ciders.
Above: Just before Charlton Road Viaduct was reached, trains crossed Kilver Street (the A37) in Shepton Mallet via another relatively low underbridge, whose lack of height must have strengthened considerably the case for its speedy demolition. The lineside footpath featuring the unusual pedestrian arch seen in Photo Gallery 122 pops out by the street lamp seen in the right of this picture. 13th August 2016. (Mike Spearman)

Above: A general study of Charlton Road Viaduct from the east. To this day, the old railway marks the limit of development on the eastern side of Shepton Mallet and one can walk via a footpath beneath the structure straight out into open countryside. 24th June 2016. (Jeff Vinter)

Above: A closer view than that above, taken on the day of the walk with plenty of railway ramblers in attendance. A footpath from Kilver Street leads into this field beneath the arch with the tree growing in it – not something that the railway would have tolerated in operational days! 13th August 2016. (Mike Spearman)
Above: The staff at Kilver Court provided our group with an excellent buffet lunch in the wood-panelled room which used to be Showerings' boardroom. This provided an opportunity to admire the formal gardens, seen here in the foreground, bordered by the distant viaduct. 13th August 2016. (Jeff Vinter)
Above: By kind permission of Kilver Court, our group was permitted to walk out and back across the viaduct, which is used during busy days at the retail centre as an aerial overflow car park. Over the years, much work has been carried out to safeguard the viaduct, including the installation of a sealed surface on the deck, with associated drainage; note the grille in the right foreground. It is no good having water seep down through ballast then getting into arches and piers, where freezing temperatures can cause masonry to be blown out. 13th August 2016. (Jeff Vinter)
Above: This photograph from the south end of the viaduct shows the broad sweep of the structure, with its parapets punctuated by refuges provided for gangers working on the permanent way. The attractive Somerset countryside is shown to good effect. 13th August 2016. (Mike Spearman)

Left: Several members of the group could not resist taking an arty photograph like this, which shows the viaduct's shadow stretching east across the open countryside beyond the old railway. Fifty years after closure, the views from this structure are as fine as ever. 13th August 2016. (Jeff Vinter)

Above: At the north end of the viaduct, railings mark the end of Kilver Court's land and prevent further exploration. As can be seen, the grassy trackbed continues, but only for a few hundred yards up to the point where the bridge over Kilver Street (the A37) has been demolished. At the south end, just before Charlton Road station would have been reached, there are more railings which bar access to a small wood that has grown up on the trackbed; beyond that, the station has been demolished and its site re-developed for light industrial use. 13th August 2016. (Mike Spearman)