Serving the communities of Bures St Mary and Bures Hamlet


SmallBridge Hall
Abandoned Rail Track ?

(rear view)

This magnificent moated house, is believed to be one wing of a much larger Elizabethan mansion.
The house is surrounded by a moat and fronts onto the River Stour.

Whilst researching Smallbridge during 2015, John Cowlin from Mount Bures informed there were lenghts of railway track lying abandoned not far from the Hall.
He beleived them to be associated with a light rail track that ran from Wormingford Lock to the Hall, which may have been used for the transportation of goods.

Naturally, my first task was to visit the site and try and locate this track

Walking away from Smallbridge towards Little Mill Cott along a public footpath, amazingly I located two sections of light rail track lying abandoned in the grass.

What purpose did they serve ?
These couldn`t have been made locally by a blacksmith with a hammer and anvil, the profile was far too complicated so they must have been forged.

This extract of text taken from the Suffolk Mills web site on the Smallbridge WaterMill reveals all:-

Haystacks were transported on bogie wheels about the farmyard, and pushed on rails into the dutch barn adjoining the west wall of the mill, from which the sheaves would be loaded into the drum through the small door over the wheel.
Like most doors in the mill, this slides on ten-inch bogie wheels by means of small iron rails which are fixed to the side of the building

These abandoned tracks, were more than likely those described in this text

(a) a local archivist has suggested these tracks may well have originated from disused tramways that were once in Colchester and Ipswich
(b) searching the internet I can find no images or reference to Haystacks being transported on rails - was this unique to Smallbridge Farm ?

alan beales


Heather Hargrove, Smallbridge
John Cowlin who worked for Churchs at Arger Fen
Jim Lunn, River Stour Trust, achivist.