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Nast Hyde Halt - a labour of love

Nast Hyde Halt Mike with Baz the station mascot
Nast Hyde Halt Mike with Baz the station mascot
Photograph courtesy of Wendy Gill Photography
The Nast Hyde Halt Loop, which is walk 247 in our collection of free walks, features a restoration project which will be a delight to all rail enthusiasts.

The 3.8 miles (6.2km) route passes the amazing Nast Hyde Halt, which has been lovingly restored by Mike Izzard, known locally as 'Nast Hyde Mike'.

While writing the directions for the walk, and also producing a feature for Hertfordshire Life magazine, I interviewed Mike about the project. 

Mike told me that the idea of restoring the halt came to him while he was walking The Alban Way, the route of the former railway line between Hatfield and St Albans. The railway line, which closed to passengers in 1951 and goods trains in 1968, is now a surfaced leisure track popular with walkers and cyclists.

Mike says he regularly used The Alban Way as a traffic-free commute to his work at the Royal Mail. As he made his way home each day he would stop "for an hour or so" to spend some time on the renovation work, a task which he says was helped by the practical generosity of supportive local residents.

"When people saw what I was doing several offered me storage solutions for my tools, which made my regular work on the halt so much easier", he said.

Nast Hyde Halt Mike working on renovations
Nast Hyde Halt Mike working on renovations
Screenshot taken from the YouTube video (see below)
Mike says a number of fundraising events followed which helped pay for even more improvements which included "the re-instalation of the platform fence and the replacement of several hundred bricks that made up the platform edge".

He says his "determination to create something special' was regularly encouraged by various people that passed him by.

"Their excitement was just the tonic for me to become bold enough to even install a small section of full size track to resemble the old siding that used to exist before the halt was installed."

Mike says the workload was "somewhat exhausting" but when the halt began to take shape his efforts were recognised by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council who produced a special licence to protect Mike's efforts and covered the insurance costs. 

The platform at Nast Hyde Halt
The platform at Nast Hyde Halt
A civic award quickly followed and then a community award which Mike describes as a "lovely touch".

Nast Hyde Halt Mike says the response to his efforts was overwhelming and his work started to inspire others.

According to Mike, The Smallford Station and Alban Way Heritage Society plus staff and students from nearby Oaklands College along with St.Albans City and District Council attempted to breathe new life back into Smallford Station, to which Mike was able to contribute.

"I decided to use Nast Hyde Halt as a foundation stone to raise more than £30,000 towards various good causes and charities, which included a hefty donation towards the restoration of Smallford Station further up the old railway line.

Restoration work underway at Smallford Station
Restoration work underway at Smallford Station
Promotion of the work then followed. With help from Wendy Gill Photography, Mike says he was able to produce and sell out a batch of 500 calendars along with t-shirts, mugs, greeting cards and fridge magnets.

The Royal Mail helped him produce "a little guide booklet about the old railway line" while "the fabulous Yvonne Marrs helped my to capture everything on a specular website celebrating much of the line's history including my own contribution".

Mike says Yvonne went on to produce a novel titled 'Termination at the Halt' which sees the restoration project interwoven within a murder mystery plot. The novel includes the story of the Nast Hyde Halt ghost train, which features in a short movie starring Nast Hyde Halt Mike and available on YouTube.

Walk 247: The Nast Hyde Halt Loop can be downloaded from Hertfordshire Walker. Directions, maps, photographs, What3Word references, and GPX navigation are all absolutely free to download and enjoy on any device.

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Promoted charity: The Trussell Trust

Promoted charity: The Trussell Trust
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