Yatton Station is rich in history. It opened in 1841 and was originally called "Clevedon Road". The station buldings may even have been designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. On one side of the mainline was the Cheddar Valley branch line, which was in existence for nearly 100 years (1869-1963), and on the otherside was the Clevedon branch line (1847-1966).
In the days of the original Great Western Railway (not the modern franchisee), stations commonly had gardens. The stations in both urban and rural settings were enhanced with floral displays on the platforms, hanging baskets, and sometimes more extensive gardens. We know that in the 1930s the GWR was running competitions for small, medium and large station gardens. Yatton was a medium size station and its garden won several certificates which used to be displayed in the waiting rooms.
Former railway workers have said that a weed was never seen in the garden. The railwaymen would stoop down after a hard day’s work and pick out any weeds on their way home. They were proud of the garden and worked hard to keep it looking spick and span. In 1938 the garden won a monetary prize and it was spent on young Irish Yews, which are still part of the garden today. In those days GWR even had its own nursery to supply plants for the station gardens.
It was because the Irish Yew trees (as mentioned in the History above) were just about visible among the holm oak and ash that had grown up after the neglect of the railways following privatisation, that Faith Moulin (YACWAG founder member) thought she would look into restoring the ‘lost garden of Yatton’ as a Millennium project. After trees had been removed, paths were discovered and re-gravelled, large crystalline stones edging borders were found. Various plants popped up when the ground was cleared and many others were introduced.
The garden evolved into the wildlife-friendly, low-maintenance area that can be seen today - full of plants mainly brought in by volunteers. Working here has its difficulties. All volunteers have to have a Health and Safety Briefing from Network Rail, the soil is thin and dry, litter accumulates in the garden, plants come and go. However, a small group finds it satisfying to keep a garden going here and both YACWAG and Yatton Horticultural Society have supported the project since 2000. An informal, unconstituted group, the Friends of Yatton Station, works with the Strawberry Line Cafe and the new GWR to keep the station litter-free and florally-rich.
If you would like to get involved you will be very welcome. You might simply look for a workparty date on the calendar in the News section and turn up. You'd be most welcome.
Car parking: There is a charge to park at Yatton railway station.