one johnny neptune

Three cheers for Dr Beeching

April 21, 2009
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Ok, I may have to travel over 16 miles to get to my nearest train station thanks to the good Doctor’s work in the 60s, but if it wasn’t for himĀ  my house wouldn’t exist (set as it is where the sidings to where the local station on the Salisbury & Dorset Junc. line was) and we wouldn’t have quite so many fantastic walks around here.

closed lines and what we are left with

One such walk is the Castleman Trailway, originally a trainline from Southampton to Dorchester, so called because of the way it meandered to take in previously unserved towns.
Castleman Corkscrew

A section of the old line from Ringwood down to Upton is walkable, we often park just outside of Ringwood and walk in on it, taking in the views of the River Avon and the church spire. The only thing that spoils the walk is the noise from the A31 which runs alongside it.

Today, the sun was shining and I decided to take Tom for a walk in the other direction, from Ashley Twinning to Ashley Heath. It’s the first time I’ve walked that way and it was really nice. You don’t get the view of the river, but as it isn’t so close to the main road, you don’t get the noise either. It’s a gentle 1.5 mile stroll through views of gorse bushes, pine trees and grazing meadows with nothing but birdsong and squirrels for company. Apart from a succession of pensioners on mountain bikes, all of whom said ‘hello’.

There’s virtually nothing of the railway left, just two perpendicular gravel paths. On the way in to Ringwood there are still a few sleepers visible, but on the walk I took today there was a small concrete step by the side of the path and a pre-fabbed hut, in a state of poor repair.
hut

Now the weather’s getting better I think I’ll try and walk the whole 17 miles (in easy small chunks) and see what I can see. The map at the top of this blog shows all the other old lines, some of which can be walked. The section of line our house is on is a less well maintained path and tricky with a buggy but can still be done. Maybe if I time it all right, I might meet the delightful Julia Bradbury.