CRS Code


Portsmouth Arms (Station Code  PMA)

All photographs are © Owen Dunn.

One wonders how many bewildered travellers, confused by the nomenclature, have inadvertently ended up in this isolated hamlet. Lucky them, for the location is idyllic. Aries, an elderly first class Pullman coach, awaits refurbishment alongside the remaining (down) platform. The River Taw, greatly increased in size by the recent addition of the River Mole, has now assumed impressive proportions, and yet is dwarfed by the surrounding hills.
A 272 yard long siding -- enough space for 40 wagons -- was taken out of service in July, 1961. While this section of the North Devon line was always single track, a 138 yard passing loop -- long enough to  accommodate an eight coach train -- was in regular use until its elimination in 1966, when the station’s signal box was also closed.

Limited parking is available. The station’s name, shared by the local pub 200 yards north, reflects the financial investments of a 19th Century Earl of Portsmouth. The Earl was actively involved in the development of the early Victorian Exeter to Barnstaple turnpike road along the Taw, Yeo and Creedy valleys, an enterprise which put paid to the fortunes of many a ridgetop village. He also owned property some distance from the valley turnpike, and his widespread influence may be gauged from the fact that Chawleigh, well away from the valley near Chumleigh, has an Earl of Portsmouth pub.

Portsmouth Arms is one of those stations (like Berney Arms in Norfolk) whose purpose arises from the presence of a nearby pub, in this case just a few tens of metres down the road.

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