The Castleman Trailway
16 miles

Foldout map with information on the various sections of the route.

he Castleman Trailway follows the route of the old Southampton to Dorchester railway line, which was closed in the 1960's. The Trailway can take you by bike through some of South East Dorset's most attractive countryside. When all the links are in place you will be able to travel from Poole to the edge of the New Forest.'

Castleman and the Railway
'Early in 1844 the 'Southampton and Dorchester Railway Company' was formed to build a line between these two towns. The route finally chosen snaked across the New Forest to Ringwood, then via Wimborne to Hamworthy (the junction for Poole) before heading west for to Dorchester. Because of the twists and turns the line was nicknamed 'Castleman's Corkscrew' after Charles Castleman, the Wimborne solicitor who was chiefly responsible for the building of the line. The railway was opened to the public on the 1 June 1847, with festivals in many places along the route.

'In 1888 a new main line was opened from Brockenhurst through Bournemouth to Poole. The stretch of line between Brockenhurst and Hamworthy was downgraded to a branch line, but was still well used and and remained profitable until after the Second World War, when increasing competition from road traffic led to a fall in passenger numbers.

'In the years following 1964, as part of Dr. Richard Beeching's plan to make the railway viable, the branch line between Brockenhurst and Hamworthy was closed to passenger traffic and the process of demolition started. The Trailway follows the old railway as closely as possible, but in some places the line is inaccessible. Alternative routes have been found, please follow the waymarkers, even when leading you away from the old railway line.'

Information courtesy of Dorset County Council and Poole Borough Council