The Dawlish Sea Wall

Few railway locations are as recognisable as the famous sea wall at Dawlish in Devon, where for a hundred years trains have done battle with the elements, sometimes in spectacular style. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES explains why this railway was built and what the future may hold for it.

For those unfamiliar with the area, Dawlish is a small seaside town in South Devon around 12 miles from Exeter which began to be developed in the early years of the 19th century as a holiday destination for the well-off, having previously been a fishing village. One of its biggest attractions was an attractive valley with a stream running down from the old village to an extensive sandy beach. Amongst those who admired this natural beauty were the novelist Jane Austin and the poet John Keats, who both stayed and worked there.

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