After leaving Yeovil, the line enters a Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the first stop is the tiny Thornford Halt. Thornford and Beer Hackett are the two Dorset villages served by this rural request stop. The former has a good village store and the freehouse King's Head pub.
Find an informative guide to a 4.5 mile walk from Thornford Halt here. This was created by the Dorset AONB partnership as part of a joint project to promote "Trains to Trails" in the area.
Thornford Halt may be tiny, but it boasts some very big successes. Dr Terry Gough and David Greening are long standing friends of the station, which they fondly refer to as "Thornford International".
They created a whole new signing and renovation scheme for the station in 2005, keep the vegetation under control and a leaflet dispenser topped up in the little shelter, and later put forward a scheme for some parking space and improved walking and cycling access to the halt. This will eventually create a safe walking route all the way to Thornford village about a mile away (completion of this is due in 2011). It is so unusual, and requires such determination, to find a way to improve access to tiny stations like this, that Dr Terry Gough and Dorset County Council won a 1st place national award for Local Transport Integration in 2008, beating large interchanges in cities around Britain for their innovative approach to this project.
David's long standing support for his local station was in turn rewarded with his first place national win for 2009's Outstanding Volunteer Contribution.
We suspect that such laurels for such a small station might represent a world record!