Sometimes absence has a presence. Here a list and a few images of traces and remnants of the East Kent Light Railway network on and around the site:
“The EKLR is one of the best examples of how a railway can dissolve back into the countryside after abandonment, leaving only a few isolated landscape features. Track removal north of the northern junction of the Tilmanstone Colliery loop occurred in May 1954, and most of the trackbed has since been ploughed out. Sometimes this left a surviving boundary. The main line between this point and the southern junction, through Elvington Halt, was apparently kept on for a while as part of the internal colliery rail system. The final section of line to Shepherdswell was abandoned after the closure of Tilmanstone colliery in 1986. Unless specified, all surviving trackbed is occupied by shrubs (some very thorny) and mature trees.”
Shepherdswell. Earthworks of the abortive junction spur are in the self-sown wood (“The Knees”) north of the stations.
Eythorne Station to Beeches Farm bridle path. 1,800 metres (2,000 yd). Trackbed could be traced from Eythorne through Elvington and along the west side of the colliery waste tip until recently. Part of this was obliterated by tip landscaping in 2007. It continues on the other side of the bridle path as a fence boundary, 230 metres (250 yd). Between the site of Wigmore Lane crossing and just south of Elvington the embankment is mostly intact and walkable, with several rotten sleepers abandoned in situ. One still has a spike for a flat-bottomed rail in it.
Elvington Halt. The overgrown platform face survives, of red stock bricks with edging in blue engineers’. Some sawn-off lengths of original EKLR bullhead rail are used as a vehicle barrier at the start of the access path in Elvington; the original rail used was flat-bottomed so these seem to belong to a re-laying of the line from Shepherdswell to the colliery from 1939.
Tilmanstone Colliery. The preserved railway runs to the former Wigmore Lane bridge, where one brick abutment survives. 100 metres (110 yd) of trackbed survives the other side of the road; the rest has been obliterated by the industrial estate.
Guilford Colliery. 100 metres (110 yd) from junction, to the southwest (footpath access from Eythorne Court; the trackbed can be walked). Trackbed to Long Lane, 700 metres (770 yd). Trackbed in a semicircle around Coldred church, embankment crossing over South Downs Way (the bridge was wooden, so no remains), then a cutting with a bridge carrying the Coldred Church road (west side filled in, bridge gone). 800 metres (870 yd).
For the keen walkers/explorers amongst you: Please click on the link for the long list of the remaining features of the wider East Kent Light Railway network.