Established in 1974 by Eric Booth, a former RAF officer who had a passion for steam engines, Lappa Valley Railway is an attraction centred around three narrow gauge railways with over three miles of track in a beautiful valley setting near Newquay in Cornwall.
The railway line was originally a mineral line to the prosperous East Wheal Rose mine dating back to before 1845 and in 1896 became part of the Great Western Railway. Over time and with the increase in road transport the line was closed in 1963. Eric Booth established a narrow gauge line which opened to the public in 1974. Two other narrow gauge railways were opened on the site as well as other attractions such as a boating lake, crazy golf, a maze, café and woodland walks. Additionally, the mining heritage of the site has been retained with the original Grade II listed mine engine house and mine chimney. The park has become well known for being a lovely family day out.
Ownership of the park was passed on to Eric Booth’s four children in 1992 and they have run the business for over 20 years latterly with the help of a general manager. Deciding that it was now time for the park to pass to new ownership they chose to instruct specialist business transfer agency, Beardsley Theobalds of Exeter (01392 253071) to act for them to handle the sale of their business. A national marketing campaign was conducted and the business was also advertised on their own and other industry web sites. Many prospective purchasers were attracted to Lappa Valley Railway from some of the big theme park operators and other steam railway operators across the country to locals who remembered having enjoying a day out as children.
The successful bidder was Keith Southwell from Devon who has a range of business interests including a model railway attraction. Keith’s passion for steam engines and his enthusiasm to retain the charm of the park was welcomed by the vendors and Keith is already getting the park ready for the start of the season with the help of general manager David Milne.
Marketing price £500,000