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Paul Gregory  

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Wharf at River Yeo

As a means of boosting income, a wharf was built c 1913 on the River Yeo near Wick St. Lawrence served by a short branch line close to the River Yeo bridge. The jetty was 190 ft long and the landing stage was 80ft long. See detail map. The wharf was used to import coal from South Wales mostly by sailing barges. The coal was off-loaded by steam crane or by the barges’ derricks into wagons, only four of which were allowed at one time on the wharf. The wagons were attached to passenger trains and taken to Clevedon.

Much of the coal was used by the railway itself. Clevedon Gas Works used some of this coal, but got most of it from the Midlands down the Portishead GWR branch then via the link line down the WC&PR to Clevedon.

The remains of the wharf still exist but are currently inaccessible since they are on private land. Photo at bottom left was taken on a tour of the WC&P by vintage bus organised by the Colonel Stephens Society in April 2006. The other two were taken on a route survey visit by WC&P Railway Group members in November 2007.

Col Stephens purchased a vessel the Lily, a ketch built in 1897, whichWharf with the Lily he had motorised, for use from the jetty. The Lily had a cargo capacity of 60 tons. Other vessels to use the jetty were the Sarah and the Edith.

A book by Edmund Eglinton: “Last of the Sailing Coasters: Reminiscences and Observations of the Days in the Severn Trows, Coasting Ketches and Schooners” ISBN 011 290336 3, published 1982 by HMSO Books includes a chapter on the WC&P ketch Lily. This excellent book gives a fascinating first hand account of the tough life on these little boats.

Another book “The Mary Fletcher” is a fictional tale of a trip from Newport to the Yeo jetty also by Edmund Eglinton ISBN 0 85989 326X.

North Somerset Council is to build a public footpath/cycleway in 2021 which will pass close to the Wharf.

Wharf from south

Wharf from south

Wharf from the north bank

Click photos to enlarge