CH66: Fish Bridge - Devizes Branch Railway
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A micro hidden as part of the Devizes Branch Railway series started by Tek_kaz.
All the Devizes Branch Railway caches can be found here.
Tek-kaz invites others to add to this series and help him mark the route of this once proud little railway line. All he asks is that you place the words “Devizes Branch Railway” at the END of your cache description so that it can be found by the above link.
The Devizes Branch Line was a railway line from Holt Junction to Patney in Wiltshire, and named after Devizes, the largest town on the line. It was built by the Wiltshire, Somerset and Weymouth Railway, and was later bought up by the Great Western Railway. At one point the Devizes line provided a direct link from London to the West Country.
The Devizes Branch line and all of its stations closed in 1966 under British Rail's modernisation plans. The closure of the line can be accounted for by the awkward geography of the Devizes line and the falling amount of traffic since the building of a rival railway line from Chirton to Westbury which by-passed the steep gradients of the Devizes branch line. Apart from a few remaining bridges and tunnels there is little evidence of the railway on the landscape today and after the closure of the line, all stations and halts were dismantled. More information on the Devizes branch line can be found here and here.
When the branch railway line met the A361 just west of Devizes it was carried above the road on a steel bridge. The first bridge had curved top and bottom edges and was nicknamed the Fish Bridge. Later the bridge was replaced with a girder one, but the name stuck.
The two Fish Bridges - looking towards Devizes.
A couple of years after the line closed the bridge was removed. In 1974-5 all the masonry was removed and the embankments were cut back to allow for the road to be widened. The original road is now the Devizes-bound side of the dual carriageway. Where the road changes to three lanes it is the left-hand and central lanes.
The widening certainly made emerging from Marsh Lane much easier, as before that there was virtually no visibility to the right.
The Fish Bridge today
There is layby parking about 150 yards west of the cache but this can only be accessed when travelling towards Devizes.
Please do not attempt it from the other direction!
About 0.4 mile west there is a convenient entrance on the right-hand side (north) of the A361 where a turn could be made.
There is a pavement from the layby to the cache site, so wheelchairs and pushchairs are welcome. Wheelchair users may require assistance for the retrieval.
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum