Magazine and Books. The club publishes a quarterly magazine of news and reports, which is distributed free of charge to members. Additionally, several members, including Chairman Mark Jones and Webmaster Jeff Vinter , have published a number of books on the subject of walking old railways. Mark's Discovering Britain's First Railways was published in June 2012, while Jeff's new, enlarged and illustrated gazetteer of railway walks throughout the British Isles was published in April 2017 (see below).

Left: The new edition of Vinter's Railway Gazetteer brings this survey of railway paths throughout the British Isles up-to-date as at 31st October 2016. New path openings since that date appear in the 2016 and 2017 news pages, although the number of these since April 2016 has been reduced by swingeing government cuts to the funding for quality walking and cycling routes. This new edition includes a number of essays on the history of closed railways, the last of which comments on current government policy.

Vinter's Railway Gazetteer
For anyone who wants to get out and actually walk old railways, the new, enlarged and superbly illustrated edition of this gazetteer is an invaluable resource for planning interesting and rather different days out. Copies can be obtained by sending a cheque value £15 payable to 'Jeff Vinter' to Glebe Cottage, Hockworthy, Wellington, Somerset, TA21 0NW.

This offer applies to UK addresses only. Please allow 7 days for delivery.


Rails Before Railways

Right: Mark Jones's latest book explores the history of railways before steam power turned them into the transport revolution that changed the world. The earliest railways were tramways, horse drawn affairs which were developed to transport minerals from mines and quarries far more efficiently than contemporary roads ever could. Mark traces their development from the earliest examples in the 1600s to 'The Dramway', the Avon & Gloucester Railway, which was the last tramway to be built in these islands before the railway revolution made them anachronistic. He uncovers a little-known network of over 1,500 miles of these routes, and includes a regional guide to where their remains can be found and explored today.

  • You can order your own copy, signed by the author, direct from Mark Jones, 19 School Lane, Brinscall, Chorley, Lancashire, PR6 8QS.
  • The price of £10.99 includes £1 for post and packing (to UK addresses only) – remember that online stores often add a greater p&p charge than this, and none supply copies signed by the author.
  • Please make cheques and postal orders payable to 'Mark Jones'.
  • Most orders are despatched by return, but allow 7-10 days for delivery.

Please note that this offer applies to UK addresses only. If you require delivery overseas, please contact us by e-mail for a quotation.



The club is frequently asked for details of books which describe walking old railways, or the history of railway closures. As far as we are aware, the following bibliography is comprehensive, but we would be pleased to hear of any omissions. ISBN numbers are provided so that visitors to this site can order the books from local libraries, if they wish.

Please note that this list does not include details of books about 'forgotten railways' or individual branch lines, since such titles are not specifically about walking old railways. If we included such titles, this list would become very long and (we suspect) rather time-consuming to maintain..

  • ab Elis, Rhys, Railway Rights of Way (pb, 120pp, b&w illus, plus 3 separate appendices), Branch Line Society, 1985, no ISBN number. Original copies of this invaluable guide are now collectors' items, but fortunately an updated version of the entire work is now available on CD: click here for further details and search for 'Railway Rights of Way'.
  • Atterbury, Paul, Along Lost Lines (hb, 256pp, illus), David & Charles, 2007, ISBN 9780715325681.
  • Atterbury, Paul, Discovering Britain's Lost Railways (hb, 159pp, b&w and colour illus), AA Publishing, 1995, ISBN 07495104555
  • Bradbury, Julia, Railway Walks with Julia Bradbury (pb, 144pp, illus), Frances Lincoln Publishers, 2010, ISBN 9780711231672; note that a DVD of the accompanying television series is also available
  • Burton, Anthony, Walking the Line (hb, 192pp, b&w and colour illus), Blandford Press, 1985, ISBN 0713715545
  • Cockman, F.G., Discovering Lost Railways, Shire Publications, 1973-1980, ISBN 0852634927. (Later editions of this book are available.)
  • Daniels, Gerald, and Dench, Les, Passengers No More (hb, 144pp, b&w illus), Ian Allan, 1980, ISBN 0711009511. A gazetteer of railway closures, listed by line and station name. (This book was designed as a companion to Ian Allan's British Railways Pre Grouping Atlas, which depicts Britain's railway network as at 31 December 1922.)
  • Davies, Hunter, A Walk Along the Tracks (2nd edition, pb, 196pp, b&w illus), Dent, 1993, ISBN 0460860992
  • Ellison, M.H., Scottish Railway Walks (pb, 192pp, b&w illus), Cicerone Press, 1989, ISBN 1852840072
  • Emett, Charlie, Walking Northern Railways, Volume One: East (pb, 159pp, b&w illus), Cicerone Press, 1986, ISBN 090236376X
  • Emett, Charlie, Walking Northern Railways, Volume Two: West (pb, 234pp, b&w illus), Cicerone Press, 1989, ISBN 1852840064
  • Hemery, Eric, Walking the Dartmoor Railroads (pb, 144pp, b&w illus), Peninsula Press, 1991, ISBN 1872640125
  • Holland, Julian, Exploring Britain's Lost Railways (pb, 304 pp, illus), Collins, 2015, ISBN 978-0008139537
  • Holland, Julian, Lost Railway Walks (pb, 140pp, illus), Collins, 2019 (2nd edition), ISBN 978-0008319243
  • Holland, Julian, The Lost Lines of Britain (hb, 256pp, b&w and colour illus), AA Publishing, 31 October 2010, ISBN 978-0749566302
  • Lewis, Stephen, Boots on the Line - Walking 1000 Miles of Britain's Dismantled Railways (pb, 364pp, illus), True to Line Publications, 2007, ISBN 0955723604
  • Lovett Jones, Gareth, Railway Walks - Exploring Disused Railways (hb, 288pp, b&w illus), David & Charles, 1983, ISBN 0715385437
  • Jones, Mark, Discovering Britain's First Railways – A Guide to Horse-Drawn Tramroads and Waggonways (pb, 144pp, b&w and colour illus.), The History Press, 2012, ISBN 978-0752462738
  • Searle, Muriel V., Lost Lines, (hb, 208pp, b&w illus), New Cavendish Books, 1982, ISBN 0904568415
  • Somerville, Christopher, Walking Old Railways (hb, 144pp, b&w illus), David & Charles, 1979, ISBN 0715376810
  • Somerville, Christopher, Walking West Country Railways (hb, 112pp, b&w illus), David & Charles, 1982, ISBN 0715381431
  • Suggitt, Gordon, North West Rail Trails (pb, 150pp, illus), Sigma Leisure, 1999, ISBN 978-1850586883
  • Turnock, David, Railways in the British Isles (hb, 256pp, b&w illus), David St. John Thomas, 1990, ISBN 0946537542
  • Vinter, Jeff, Railway Walks: GWR & SR (pb, 204pp, b&w and colour illus), The History Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0752451039
  • Vinter, Jeff, Railway Walks: LMS (pb, 192pp, b&w and colour illus), The History Press, 2009, ISBN 0752451046 (to be re-published in October 2009)
  • Vinter, Jeff, Railway Walks: LNER (pb, 208pp, b&w and colour illus), The History Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0752451053
  • Vinter, Jeff, Railway Walks: Wales (pb, 208pp, b&w and colour illus), The History Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0752449340
  • Vinter, Jeff, The Taff Trail Official Guidebook (pb, 128pp, colour illus), Sutton Publishing, 1993, ISBN 0750903414
  • Vinter, Jeff, Vinter's Railway Gazetteer, 2017 edition (pb, 168pp, b&w and colour illus.), The History Press, 2017, ISBN 978-0750969765
  • Wham, Alasdair, Borders Railway Rambles (pb, 94pp, b&w illus), Stenlake Publishing, 2004, ISBN 9781840332896
  • Wham, Alasdair, Edinburgh and Lothians: Exploring the Lost Railways (pb, 152pp, b&w illus), GC Books, 2006, ISBN 9781872350141
  • Wham, Alasdair, The Lost Railway Lines of Ayrshire (pb, 80pp, b&w illus), GC Books, 1997, ISBN 1872350275
  • Wham, Alasdair, The Lost Railway Lines of Galloway (pb, 72pp, b&w illus), GC Books, 1996, ISBN 1872350968
  • Wham, Alasdair, The Lost Railway Lines South of Glasgow (pb, 103pp, b&w illus), GC Books, 2000, ISBN 1872350089
  • Wham, Alasdair, Trossachs and West Highlands: Exploring the Lost Railways (pb, 141pp, b&w illus), GC Books, 2009, ISBN 978187235 – read a review

David Turnock’s Railways in the British Isles is the most academic study of old railways, but a great deal of factual and historical information can be gleaned from all of the above titles.

Two major studies of old railways have been commissioned by the government:

  • The Appleton Report in the 1970s
  • The Grimshaw Report in the 1980s

The Appleton Report was disappointing and did little more than state the obvious by listing and categorising what remained on the ground. However, the Grimshaw Report set out detailed proposals for the re-use of many disused lines in a series of 32 separate ‘annexes’. The organisation which produced the Grimshaw Report metamorphosed into Sustrans Ltd., the Bristol-based path-building charity, and many of the proposals in the report's annexes have now been turned into successful railway paths throughout the UK. In fact, some now form part of the National Cycle Network.

If your appetite for books on old railways has still not been satisfied, you could try the 11 titles in the David & Charles' Forgotten Railways series, or the same publisher's 14 volume Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain, although this deals with all lines, whether closed or open. Since the 1980s, a number of 'Then and Now' books have also been published, some of the most popular being by Mac Hawkins, who goes to extraordinary lengths to return to the exact spot where a period photograph was taken, even if it means hiring special equipment to regain the height afforded by a demolished railway structure such as a signal or footbridge. Mac's books The Great Central Then and Now and The Somerset & Dorset Railway Then and Now are particularly recommended.