Sheep Pasture


All photos on this page courtesy of Chris Nevard (


It’s summer 1962. High on the hillside above the village of Cromford in Derbyshire, a faint plume of smoke rises above the skyline as a small tank engine passes Black Rocks, running bunker first with a mixed rake of empty water tenders and full mineral wagons, with limestone from Killer’s Quarry at Middleton. The train’s destination is Sheep Pasture Top, head of the incline down to the eastern end of the line at Cromford Wharf.


On arrival, the locomotive, 47007 (“James Bond” to some local children) runs round its train and propels it toward the top of the 1 in 8 Sheep Pasture Incline. Once over the small hump opposite the single road corrugated iron engine shed (blown down in a gale earlier in the year), the brakes are pinned to bring the train to a gradual halt short of the incline head. The first two wagons are uncoupled and nudged forward to rest against the scotch blocks at the brow of the incline. Here, they are attached with chains to the incline cable by the hanger-on, prior to their cautious descent to Cromford Wharf.


The locomotive uncouples and drifts back over the crossover adjacent to the two reservoirs, then sets back alongside the water tank. Here, the engine is left to simmer gently in the afternoon sun as the crew lift the lid on the water filler and insert the bag from the water column to replenish the saddle tank. Supported on brick columns outside the engine shed this old cylindrical boiler is the High Peak’s version of the familiar water tower.


The layout has been built in an attempt to recapture the above scene as accurately as possible. It includes a fully detailed model of the stationary engine house, situated at the top of a working incline. Sheep Pasture can be displayed in two forms, one covering the period up to 1962 whilst the locomotive shed was still standing, and the other from 1962 until closure in 1967 with the shed dismantled following storm damage.


Sheep Pasture was awarded the Ken York Trophy for the most popular layout at Scaleforum, the Scalefour Society Show, at Leatherhead in 1999. A similar award was presented to Robin Whittle, the layout’s owner and constructor, during the Scalefour North Show at Wakefield in 2002.


Sheep Pasture has also featured in Model Railway Journal Nos 181 and 182 and Model Rail 171.



Scale: 4mm - P4 (18.83mm)


Description: BR (London Midland Region) section of Cromford and High Peak Railway. Cable worked incline with Winding Engine House and Locomotive shed.


Overall size: 15' x 2'6" + minimum 3' operating space


Operators: 2 or 3


Requirements: Table and chair 13 amp power supply


Expenses: Reimbursement of van hire and fuel (approx. £250-£300) Overnight accommodation if more than 50 miles from Bristol. Insurance cover for show and in transit (value £12000)


Contact: Robin Whittle


robinwhittle 'at' blueyonder 'dot' co 'dot' uk (replace the 'at' with @ and 'dot' with . )