My hunt for “Buggleskelly” started back in 2016 when my 92-year-old Grandfather, Kenneth Albert George Sole told me a story about the time, as a child, he walked from Basingstoke to Cliddesden Station to watch the filming of the 1937 classic “Oh Mr. Porter!” starring Will Hay…
Intrigued by the fact that I didn’t even know there had been a railway station at Cliddesden, or a line that connected Basingstoke with Alton, I set about conducting some market research to see what I could find out about the forgotten track.
Although the station and its building have long since been demolished, there are quite a few indicators of the existence of the Basingstoke and Alton Light Railway.
Market research both online and field revealed:
Row of railway cottages still existing in Station Road, Cliddesden
Remains of the old railway bridge connecting Cliddesden with Basingstoke along B3046 (Farleigh Road) (image below)
Using Google Maps it is still possible to see the location of the track, some of which has been turned into a public bridleway from near Cliddesden to Winslade (image below – red line indicating the location of the track)
At Winslade, the railway bridge has survived, although it is now classed as a conservation area, you can walk the route of the old track
Last remaining track, located in the middle of Viables roundabout, Basingstoke
I even found ‘behind the scenes footage‘ (see below) from the 1937 shoot (I wonder if my Grandad was one of those spectators?)
In its heyday, the single-track railway line ran from Basingstoke railway station, past Thorneycrofts (site of Morrison’s supermarket) and Viables Farm (Viables Craft Centre) heading out towards Cliddesden. There was even a track that went via Park Prewett.
So if you’ve wondered why there is a piece of track in the middle of one of Basingstoke’s many roundabouts – that’s why!
In 2018 a commemorative bench was constructed in Cliddesden village (see below) – I’ll leave you to find its location.
I wonder what other treasures of yesteryear exist in the local area? I heard the other day that there is an ancient well situated somewhere in Oakridge that dates back to 1AD! – perhaps this historic tale will feature in a future brevity blog!
Read our other recent ‘Basingstoke history’ inspired blogs: