The route

 route map 2

The route of The Ashover Light Railway

An “audio trail” has recently been published about the section of railway between Fallgate and Ashover.  This can be downloaded from Also, a series of booklets detailing “Walks on a Railway Theme” has been produced by the ALRS, and can be purchased by following the links at the top of this screen to the merchandise sections. It is important to note that most of the former ALR trackbed is now private land without public rights of way, unlike other former rail routes in Derbyshire such as the Monsal, Five Pits, Tissington and High Peak Trails. This page refers to sections of the railway the ALRS may be able to reopen. The reasons why re-opening of the whole route are impracticable within the foreseeable future will become obvious as you progress through reading this section. This is the case for the first section of the route from Clay Cross & Egstow station.  The area around the station was, in its heyday, a major industrial site, home of the world renowned Clay Cross Company.  However, there has been (and continues to be) massive redevelopment of this area including a Tesco superstore, making it practically impossible to visualise how this part of Clay Cross looked in ALR days. (insert photo of Clay Cross Tesco here) From the station the ALR followed a gradually rising embankment towards Chesterfield Road, now the A61 trunk road.  The whole of the embankment, and the surrounding fields, were the subject of open cast coal extraction and no trace of the railway remains. 1 cx and egThis view shows what the route from Clay Cross & Egstow was like, with the Pirelli Bridge visible in the background. It is just possible to make out Chesterfield Rd station, with the wooden walkway leading up from road level.         It is a different story, however, on the other side of the A61 as the original abutment of the Pirelli bridge still stands to its full height (centre,below) together with the embankment on which the railway ran, including some recovered original track (below, right. Pictures by David Wilmott). pirelli     Pirelli Bridge     KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA Currently, there are proposals for further coal extraction on the western side of the A61 involving most of the former railway trackbed. The ALRS is involved in discussions with the proposers of this development with a view to post mining remediation. At the invitation of the landowner the ALRS was involved in the excavation of some ALR track in this section that had somehow been left behind by the dismantling team after the closure of the railway. Between Holmgate Rd and Clay Lane the railway followed, roughly, the current boundary of Kenning Park, itself a post closure feature of the Clay Cross landscape. The point at which the railway crossed Clay Lane by the Royal Oak is still discernible and the ALRS has been invited by the residents’ association to provide a contribution to the information board. On the opposite side of Clay Lane the course of the old railway becomes more obvious as it runs parallel to Network Rail’s Chesterfield to Derby main line (which is in a cutting at this point.) The next main road crossing of the ALR was at Stretton to Ashover road. This was the site of both the ALR and standard gauge Stretton stations (even though the main part of the village actually lies on the ridge, a steep climb up from the railways. The route of the ALR is quite conspicuous in both directions and in fact is followed by a bridleway northwards. A short distance away on the south side of the road is Severn Trent’s access road to Ogston reservoir named “Peggy Lane” in reference to the ALR locomotive of that name. The reservoir has completely covered the horseshoe shaped route of the ALR until it re-crosses the Stretton-Ashover road at Woolley. If the water levels in the reservoir are abnormally low it is possible to trace the low embankment of the route as it approaches the road. Upon leaving Woolley Moor the line ran in a north westerly direction with the River Amber immediately on the left, and then within the space of a quarter mile, cross the river twice and then parallel it as far as Dale Bank Lane where there was a halt just by the road crossing. After leaving Dalebank the railway swung gently westwards, crossing the Amber twice more, and proceed to Milltown where there was a halt adjacent Miners Arms Inn on Oakstedge Lane. A handy stop for thirsty travellers! Beyond Milltown the old line reached Fallgate (the yard is shown below, left) where the original station building still survives. Since the closure of Fallgate Quarries, much of the land in this area has been landscaped and sadly most traces of the old industry and railway have disappeared. However, the land owners have retained the old Fallgate station building (below, centre) and have even laid a short length of track on front of it. Fallgate yard from Tippler (JB LYNAM)   fallgate station After leaving Fallgate the lined passed Demonsdale Farm and the Fall Mill, and continue on a low embankment above the River Amber floodplain to the site of Salter Lane station. site salter lane stationThe embankment is still visible and is currently used as a farm track.           Salter Lane was the last station before reaching Ashover (Butts) and was basically a halt, although it did have a shelter. Geographically it was closer to Ashover village than Ashover (Butts) station, but access could only be gained by ascending or descending the steep path known as Hollow Lane. This is one of the clearest sections of the line and, apart from the replacement of missing river bridges, no major physical obstacles stand in the way of the railway’s return. From Salter Lane it is just a short trip to Ashover (Butts) where the line terminated in a turning triangle (see the then & now photos below) Ashover Light Railway Society    ash butts station

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From the web editor.....Please send me an email if you have any news or pictures of the ALR which you feel will benefit the Society.

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