PRIDE in Welshpool and its history is set to soar as a new group has been formed to push forward heritage projects in the town.

And the first project that they will be steering is the £40,000 restoration of the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway cattle docks near the Motte and Bailey castle behind Tesco.

The money for the project comes from the Landfill Communities Fund and now a contractor has been appointed and work is set to start in the next few days.

Welshpool Town Clerk Robert Robinson, who is the administrator of the Civic Pride group, said: “This is a group set up to carry out heritage projects as asked for by the town council and is made up of town councillors, historians, CPAT (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust) and those with a heritage interest.”

The docks is the first of two phases of restoring this part of historic Welshpool, with restoring the Motte and Bailey Castle and Victoria Bowling Club to follow soon after.

Mr Robinson added: “The town council has a long lease on all the land within the project.

“The scheme is set to restore the platform and cattle docks.

“We aim to install paths to access the site including for disabled people, interpretation boards that will explain the significance of the docks as well as restoring of the old railway hut to provide an educational base for people to study the railway and other heritage.”

The docks are of historical significance as they a rare surviving interchange facility between narrow and broad gauge railways.

Built in 1903, the docks provided a connection between the Welshpool and Llanfair Railway narrow gauge track and the Cambrian Railways standard gauge track, it remained in use until 1956.

Three parallel rails in the transfer dock allowed access for both standard and narrow gauge rolling stock to the same platforms.

The site is well documented in the papers of the Welshpool and Llanfair Railway in the National Library of Wales.

The site is of national importance as it is believed to be the last surviving example in Wales, and possibly Britain.