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Written by Glen Batten - 29 Dec 2008
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Location notes
A rural location mid-way between Witham Friary and Bruton on the Westbury to Taunton line. Strap Lane is the name of a former halt which once served the nearby village of Upton Noble and is near the summit of Brewham Bank, with gradients of 1 in 81 from the west, and 1 in 107 from the east.
Railway type and traffic
The location sees a regular diet of FGW HSTs on the 'direct' route from Reading to Taunton, plus DMUs (and top-and-tail 67s on Summer Saturdays) on the services to and from Weymouth.
Regular daylight freight is now very limited - just ballast from Meldon Quarry to Westbury and PW traffic. Note that the location is west of East Somerset Junction and thus does not see any Mendip stone traffic.
The line does, however, get it's fair share of excursion traffic, including loco-hauled extras in connection with the Glastonbury Festival in June.
Environment
The location is an over bridge carrying a quiet country lane over the railway. Take care driving in the vicinity as the roads are frequented by horse-riders.
Road directions
The location is best reached from the A359 between Bruton and Frome.
Several turnings are signposted to Upton Noble but don't worry as they all funnel into one lane which snakes its way downhill to the over bridge.

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Strap Lane, Upton Noble map co-ordinates
Parking
There is a lay-by (often muddy) just to the south of the over bridge. Do not even think about parking on the bridge itself: the road is just too narrow and you will be forced to move when the next tractor comes along!
Public transport
There is no public transport to Upton Noble as far as I am aware.

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Amenities
The nearest place to eat and drink is the pub in Wanstrow, and others in Bruton and Frome. A visit to the area might also take in the East Somerset Railway at nearby Cranmore: the ancient-looking Strode Arms near the station does high-quality pub meals.
Accommodation
One option would be the new Premier Inn at Berkley near Frome (look out for the 'Frome Flyer' on the A362) which just happens to be close to another good lineside location.
Sun Compass
Sun Compass using Suncalc by brought to you by Vladimir Agafonkin:
It might be necessary to adjust the time to suit your visit, this link should open with the current day.
Strap Lane, Upton Noble

Googly map
Streetmap links
Strap Lane, Upton Noble general view map
Strap Lane, Upton Noble close up map

Windows Local Live Link - image quality may vary
Strap Lane, Upton Noble



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Photographic notes
The location is only really any good, photographically, for 'down' trains. The sun is right from about mid-morining through to early afternoon. It then gets too 'head on' until mid-afternoon or so when it becomes possible to shoot from the 'north-west' side of the bridge.
Vegetation is a problem for longer trains but it is currently, late-2008, possible to get a whole HST in. The 'Meldon' ballast train, however, tends to disappear into a hedge at the far end!
Videographers will appreciate the audio opportunities as trains can be heard tackling the bank from Witham Friary a mile and a half away to the east.
The rolling Mendip hills provide an attractive backdrop while abundant rosebay willowherb offers some nice foreground colour in summer.


General views - All photographs © Glen Batten unless otherwise stated
Fig 1 - Looking north


Fig 1 - Looking north


Fig 2 - Looking north


Fig 2 - Looking north


Fig 3 - Looking north


Fig 3 - Looking north


Fig 4 - Looking south


Fig 4 - Looking south


Fig 5 - Looking south



Fig 5 - Looking south


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