Plus parts of the South Hams and West Devon

  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: May 24, 2018
Webpage updated: January 15, 2019




It seems that the Manor Inn in the Parish of Walkhampton, just over 10 miles by road from Plymouth, had a very famous Barn.  Apparently before the days of the railway to Princetown, prisoners on their way between Millbay Prison in Plymouth and the new Dartmoor Prison at Prince's Town, stopped at Dowsland Barn (sic) for some refreshments before climbing Peek Hill and setting off across the Moor.  It is said that the meals were served in a refectory within the Barn.  As there were no other properties at this point, the crossroads leading from Walkhampton Village to Meavy Village, when the Princetown Railway Company placed a stopping place there on their new railway, they called it Dowsland Barn Station.  Even as late as 1937 a correspondent in the Western Morning News stated: 'This old barn was so famous that to this day the correct name of the station there is "Dousland Barn"'.

The reader will have noticed the inconsistent spelling.  Apparently Plymothians used the spelling "Dousland" while the Ordnance Survey called it "Dowsland" and the Railway companies were criticized for going with the Ordnance Survey version..  For consistency from here on the Plymothian way will be used as there is no evidence that the word "Dowsland" was ever used in the Station or Signal Box signage only in the timetables.

Dousland Signal Box and Station from the Yelverton end, March 1956.
Norman Simmons.

Thus Dousland Barn Station was opened by the Princetown Railway Company on August 11th 1883.  It was at that time the only stopping place between Horrabridge Station, the junction for Princetown, and Princetown Station.  There was a loop and a Goods Shed but the most notable thing was the level crossing over the road to Meavy and the Dousland Barn Signal Box to control the crossing gates and signals.  The Station was really erected to serve the village of Walkhampton because at the time there were only two buildings at the crossroads, the Manor Inn (also known as the Manor House and Manor Farm) and a cottage called "Pinfold", which appears to have been demolished soon after the coming of the Railway.

Mr John Laskey, formerly the signalman at Horrabridge Station, was appointed Station Master at Dousland Station, where he had his own Station House.

Dousland Station on the last day of operation, March 1956.
  Norman Simmons.

The layout was resignalled in 1915, when the existing Box was downgraded to a Ground Frame and replaced by a new Signal Box on the platform containing the block instruments so that it could be operated by a porter-signalman, who would only go to the Ground Frame when he was required to operate the level crossing gates.  It would seem that it was at this time the Dousland Barn name was transferred from the level crossing signal box to the new one on the platform.

GWR loco number 4402 pauses at Dousland Station with an Up train for Yelverton. 
Note the platform extension in the foreground.
From a postcard.

According to the "The Official Hand-book of Station 1929" Dousland Station dealt with goods traffic, passengers, parcels, miscellaneous traffic.  It was not equipped with a crane.  Eggworthy Siding came within its jurisdiction.

Dousland Station was closed to passenger and goods traffic on and as from March 5th 1956, when the Princetyown Branch closed.