The Coastal Recycling Community Fund provides support for local projects that create a positive impact on the local community either in terms of amenities, heritage or environment.

Recently £6,000 was awarded to the Tarka Valley Railway to support the work they are doing to extend the railway line from Torrington towards Bideford, with the ultimate aim to become a heritage railway.

For many years ‘behind the scenes’ work such as planning and fundraising has been taking place. Run solely by volunteers the team have been passionate and focused on making this project a reality for 10 years.

In April 2018 a lease was signed with the local council giving the go ahead to lay track on the first part of the route towards Bideford but, before any track could be laid the team of volunteers have had to increase the size of the path so as not to reduce the pathway that is already accessible to walkers, runners and cyclists. This was a big task for the team of volunteers with clearing and levelling the surface for tarmac all being part of the initial work.

With the path widened and cleared the team of volunteers started work laying the new section of track which now stretches around 180ft and also saw a level crossing with safety fence installed. The Coastal Recycling Community fund was used to purchase 2 sections of the track used in this initial phase. Once laid the team were able to run the railway engine up the track and visibly show the progress being made.

The next phase of the project will see a king point purchased which will allow the team to move the engine off of the main track for maintenance.

Alan Jones, Tarka Valley Railway said;

“Laying the first sections of track to extend the line has been a momentous occasion and visibly marks all of the hard work that the team of dedicated volunteers have been undertaking over the last 8-9 years. Being run solely by volunteers funding and support is hugely important in helping us undertake this project and with support from organisations such as Coastal Recycling the project is now becoming a reality.”

Richard Marsh, Director, Coastal Recycling said;

“Heritage is an important part of local communities and it is great to see such a dedicated team of volunteers making this line extension a reality for both local communities and tourists to enjoy for years to come.”

The Tarka Valley Railway is run solely by volunteers who are on site undertaking work every Thursday. Their main base (next to the Puffing Billy Restaurant) is open every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday to visitors. You can find out more about the work they do and memberships on the website or Facebook page.