The first physical signs of a £16.5million extension to the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway have been officially opened.

The railway trust is celebrating rebuilding two bridges on the former route of the line between Blackmoor Gate and Wistlandpound Reservoir.

The work is the first sign of its ambitious plans to reinstate another four-and-a-half miles of the narrow-gauge railway in addition to the one mile it already operates from Woody Bay Station.

The two bridges were officially opened on Friday, December 13 Councillor Andrea Davis, the Devon County Council cabinet member for infrastructure.

Bridge 55 stands high above a passage between two fields and was still intact more than 80 years after the railway closed, but work was needed to ensure it was strong enough to support a train.

Bridge 54 across a public bridleway, had long since disappeared save for one abutment. According to a local farmer, it was blown up by the military during World War Two.

The work on both bridges was carried out by engineering contractors I&F Brown of Exeter and partly funded by a European Leader 5 grant; the L&BR Trust has paid the rest.