Page last updated at 16:36 GMT, Monday, 24 August 2009 17:36 UK

Top Gear presenter changes track

James May
James May says great toys are more than just play things

A world record attempt has been made in Devon to recreate the Barnstaple to Bideford railway line using a massive model train track.

The attempt, involving about 400 volunteers, was filmed for a new BBC television series being hosted by Top Gear presenter James May.

The railway was built on the Tarka Trail, which was temporarily closed to cyclists, but stayed open for walkers.

Devon County Council said the Tarka Trail was chosen for its scenery.

"It says everything that the programme makers chose the Tarka Trail out of all other locations in the country," councillor Roger Croad said.

'Achieve greatness'

The council acquired the disused railway line in 1990 and created an off-road cycle track which runs more than 37 miles (60km) between Braunton and Meeth and now attracts more than 150,000 visitors a year.

It was hoped to complete the 10-mile (16km) model railway by early evening.

The attempt will be shown on James May's Toy Stories on BBC Two.

The series of challenges will involve some of the UK's best-loved toys, including a full-size Lego house, a garden made from Plasticine and a life-size Meccano bridge.

"For too long now we have regarded the great toys as mere playthings," May said.

"It's time to use them to bring people together and achieve greatness. And I bet it'll be a right laugh as well."

May appealed for volunteers earlier this month when he visited the North Devon Show.

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