A play train has pulled in at at Wallington Morpeth, the National trust property near Cambo in Northumberland.
The 12-meter long train also has a climbing wall, fireman’s pole slide and driving cab. It is in the West Woods on the property.
The train was inspired by the children who grew up in the house in the early 1900s. A photograph in a Trevelyan family album that shows the opening of the Great Wallington Railway in 1934. The railway was built by Geoffrey Trevelyan, son of Sir Charles Philips Trevelyan who gifted Wallington to the National Trust in the 1950s, and two of his friends.
Robin Dower, Grandson of Sir Charles, remembered the Great Wallington Railway, and said: “Geoffrey and his friends Nigel Bricknell and Andrew Huxley persuaded Sir Charles to let them build the Great Wallington Railway in the West Wood. They formed the timber track on sleepers with a converted coal bogie as a chariot which sped down 100 yards of steep bank, rattled across a bridge and over a burn up the other side to come to rest at the foot of a large tree.
“It survived until after the War. Some bits of track were replaced but I recall the pretty terrifying experience of being a rider on its last run in about 1948; the track was becoming wobbly with rot and there were no brakes.
Today a slate plaque fixed to the bridge abutment in the burn records the building of the railway – the three engineers were only teenagers on holiday from school.
Further National Trust research into the extensive photograph collection and documentation of life at Wallington has identified that the Trevelyan children particularly enjoyed the freedom of playing in the West Woods. The National Trust are using this information to make developments in their offer for families.
Gillian Mason, Visitor Experience Manager at Wallington said: “We are continually looking for ways to improve the experience we offer our visitors and want to use the history of Wallington to inform how we do this. The West Woods were used as a place for adventure and discovery by the Trevelyan children and so we’re looking at ways to help our visitors enjoy the space as they did. It’s a perfect place to carry out many of the activities listed in our 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ campaign such as den building and making mud pies. We also hold lots of outdoor bush craft events here too.”
The new adventure play train design, created by the creative play company Flights of Fantasy exclusively for Wallington, is based on a locomotive which was known to run along the Wannie Line from Morpeth to Reedsmouth via Scots Gap.