Narrow Gauge Railway
Gloucestershire GL16 8QB
The popular children’s attraction ‘Perrygrove Railway’ near Coleford in the Forest of Dean is also of interest to older narrow gauge railway enthusiasts.
Although this is a relatively new railway, it runs replicas of engines used by the famous 19th century engineer, Sir Arthur Percival Heywood. Sir Arthur’s minimum gauge railways on the Duffield Bank and Eaton Hall Estates were the inspiration for Perrygrove.
In 1993 Michael and Francis Crofts purchased Perrygrove Farm and construction of the 15 inch (381 mm) gauge railway began in 1995. The railway, in conjunction with picnic areas and play facilities, opened on 1st August 1996.
The railway's existence depends on visits from day trippers, tourists and railway enthusiasts. Perrygrove Railway is a top day out for the family. It is inexpensive and the entrance ticket allows all day use of the line.
The track covers a distance of 3/4 miles (1.2 km) and is gradually being extended with passing loops and sidings. There are two sections of 1 in 29 gradient, and two of 1 in 50, and very sharp curves in places, making it an interesting journey for visitors, and challenging for loco crews.
A round trip takes 20 minutes and trains run frequently throughout the day. There are four Stations giving access to forest paths. In this ancient woodland are scowles used by the Romans to mine iron ore.
The engine sheds and workshops may be visited under supervision when staff are available. Enquire at the booking office when you arrive.
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Locos & Rolling Stock
Spirit of Adventure 0-6-0 Tank built by Exmoor Steam Railway
Ursula Duffield Bank Railway, Reconstruction of No.6 Ursula: 0-6-0 Tank, boiler 160 psi, grate area 3 sq ft (0.28 m2)., heating surface 80 sq ft (7.4 m2)., cylinders 5.5"x8", wheel diameter 1'4", Brown/Heywood valvegear. Built by James Waterfield
Lydia 2-6-2 Tank with Hackworth Valvegear built by local Locomotive Engineering firm Alan Keef Ltd
Replica K1 Garratt articulated locomotive from the Bush Mill Railway, Built by Bush Mill Railway
Workhorse 26014 of 1967. Built by Motor Rail of Bedford
Jubilee 9337 of 1994. Built by Hunslet Engineering Company at Jack Lane, Leeds
Pylon 40407 of 1954. Built by R A Lister and Company
Duffield Park Dining Carriage Replica built by James Waterfield
Creating a Heywood Experience
The owners of Perrygrove wanted to use the 15 inch gauge for the railway. This became a reality when the Exmoor Steam Railway built a suitable steam locomotive – Spirit of Adventure - for them.
From there the idea grew of creating a Heywood style railway. This was achieved with the help of their friend, James Waterfield, who made this a reality by using Perrygrove as a base for Ursula and his re-creations of other Heywood rolling stock. It is through the efforts of enthusiasts like James that the Heywood tradition has been revived.
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The Heywood Collection
The Collection consists of five original vehicles, including the original saloon carriage from Eaton Hall. Also based at Perrygrove are replica vehicles built by James Waterfield.
All these vehicles are available for viewing when Perrygrove is open, but visitors are asked to telephone if they wish to be certain of seeing a particular item.
Sir Arthur Heywood
This man was a brilliant mechanical engineer, a graduate of Cambridge, who was unable to practise his profession because he belonged to the wealthy country gentry. He was working in an era before the internal combustion engine was a practical alternative to the horse and cart.
He was looking for a mechanical alternative to horsepower that could serve the needs of an agricultural district or supply troops in the field of war. A lightweight railway was the obvious choice but how narrow could the rails be apart without losing stability.
In 1874, working as an amateur, he started experimenting at home on his miniature estate at Duffield Bank just north of Derby. He settled on a gauge of 15 inches (381mm) and was able to show that this very narrow gauge did indeed achieve the objective he had set.
He eventually developed one of the finest private railways and workshops there has ever been.
Sadly, the only opportunity he had to put his ideas into practice personally was when the Duke of Westminster commissioned him to construct an estate railway at Eaton Hall in Cheshire, in 1895.
It can be truly said that we owe the popularity of the 15 inch narrow gauge line to the efforts of Sir Arthur Percival Heywood.
Opening Times & Admission Costs
For latest information go to:
Contact & Further Information
- By Car Perrygrove Narrow Guage Railway
is on the B4228 half a mile (800 metres) south of Coleford
. Go to the Perrygrove website ‘Finding Us’
Google Maps - Perrygrove Railway