Nestled in a glorious wooded valley, Umberleigh remains very much a peaceful wayside halt. The community’s historic function was to provide a crossing point, most recently by a graceful three-arched bridge, over the River Taw on the main road between South Molton and Great Torrington. The river, now an impressive size, offers fish in abundance, a fact not lost perhaps on Athelstan, the first king of “all England,” who built a palace and chapel here in the early 10th Century.
Much more recently the local economy centred around a couple of quarries (both now disused) and Murch Brothers, a thriving engineering firm specializing in tractors and farm machinery. Today the community’s chief claim to fame is the fly fishing -- for salmon, sea and brown trout -- that’s on offer. The station provides evidence of the line as it once was. Note, for example, the number of arches on the road bridge at the platform’s north end, which easily provided for the double track that was taken up in 1971. The station buildings, now in private ownership, are very similar to those found all the way along the line, and are clearly the work of the same Victorian architect.