Back in the golden age of British railways Ringwood had a railway line which ran right through it. This was closed as part of the Beeching cuts and has led to the modern town having terrible travel links. But it’s not all bad as parts of the old railway line have now been turned into footpaths. The Castleman Trailway goes all the way to the town of Poole but this post focuses on the section that goes through Ringwood, which I visited yesterday.
The part of the trailway nearest to me goes straight through farmland. There’s not a whole lot to see on this section but the path is surrounded by bushes and trees either side so you can see lots of small birds and butterflies. There seemed to be a plethora of house sparrows yesterday and a few early butterflies like a peacock and (I think) some clouded yellows. The edge of the path seems to be quite good for wildflowers too:
There’s a short walk by the side of a few roads before reaching the next section of the trailway, which is very close to the centre of the town. This is my favorite section as it follows the river Avon as it meanders through the farmland. Because it’s all floodplain this is one area you can guarantee will be safe from development.
The Avon has lots of your usual river birds like mallards and mute swans as well as some slightly less common species like little egrets and grey herons.
The floodplains sometimes have lapwings on but on my visit yesterday there seemed to be quite a few corvids- crows, rooks, and magpies. At points where the river is slightly further away from the path there are trees either side of the path which house various bird species- I saw blackbirds, robins, blue tits, long-tailed tits and chaffinches.
As well as being a haven for wildlife the trailway is simply a nice place to be. There are several old railway bridges which cross the river, including one which still has the remains of track alongside it:
There’s also lovely views of Ringwood’s town church (and I saw some fallow deer just in front of the reeds not long before I took this photo):
The trailway is a great place to walk and cycle and not bad for wildlife either!