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Saturday 11 June 2016

Upton Embankment

Upton Embankment is the name I am giving to the remaining section of raised railway line on the eastward approach into Upton-on-Severn. As this 1946 map shows, the line ran along a deep cutting under the bridge at Upper Hook Road and then up onto a modest embankment, before finally crossing Old Street by means of a brick bridge.

Today, the section of the embankment nearest the town has been levelled to provide pitches for Upton Rugby Club, but the section behind the sports ground remains intact. Accessed by a set of steps above a brick abutment, the embankment has been turned into a 400m long public footpath, and a few railway relics are still visible in the undergrowth. There is also a very impressive brick arched bridge which once allowed a footpath to run under the railway.

We begin this section of the walk at the top of the public footpath next to New Street at the southern end of Clive's Fruit Farm. This is the view towards Upton, with the railway embankment clearly visible on the right.

The public footpath down the railway embankment is on the left of this shot, but the top of the path off New Street also features another historical site of note, to the right of the Severn Trent sewage treatment works. This is the Cholera Burial Ground, where victims of the outbreak in Upton in 1832 are buried.

 The Railway Embankment

Turning back to the railway footpath, we head south-east towards Upton through a tree line in full bloom. I set the camera to a slightly lower light filter to compensate for the dappled shade and the result was a riot of green. These pictures show the walk into Upton and don't give much about the railway away, but they do show the footpath off as a very pretty walk. I might return in winter once the greenery has died back to see if this exposes the man-made landscape a bit more.

About 200m along the footpath we encounter our first railway relic; a dismembered telegraph pole. The stump marks the beginning of a short section in which several interesting pieces of railway infrastructure still survive.

The Bridge

By far the most impressive railway relic on this route is the brick bridge which allowed the public footpath across the field to cross under the railway. Walking down the line into Upton, the first clue of the bridge's existence comes with the shallow brick wall flanking the embankment, shown here on the left.

The southern side of the track also has a small wall, although this one has retained its rounded top. Looking over the edge shows the surprisingly large drop down onto the field below:

A milepost stands guard in the undergrowth just to the west of the bridge.

Dropping down to the ground on the northern side of the embankment, you can see that the bridge is of similar construction to the small bridge at Worcestershire Golf Course and the larger arch at Warren Farm. Large diagonal supporting walls hold the earthworks back and open the bridge up to the field alongside. Unfortunately, the area under the bridge was still about six inches deep in water when I took these pictures (a very warm dry spell in May!) and so I'm not sure if it's ever possible to cross through to the other side without bringing wellies. A project for the future.

This picture shows an old lump of wood sticking out of the ground. It may possibly be a fencepost reclaimed from an old railway sleeper; it certainly doesn't seem to be serving any real purpose now!

The End of the Line

Another mile post stands towards the end of the embankment.

At the end of the track, a brick abutment separates the old embankment from the rugby pitches below.

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