The Castleman Trailway is a footpath which is follows part of the former Southampton and Dorchester Railway line.
Known also as the Corkscrew Railway, this line ran between Southampton and Dorchester and was opened in 1847. It connected the small towns and villages of the New Forest and Dorset, bringing products to markets and people to communities.
The Corkscrew Railway was closed as part of the railway closures throughout the UK identified in the Beeching Report of 1963. The final passenger service ran on 2nd May 1964. This was only one month short of 117 years of service to the communities and people of the Corkscrew route.
Parts of the line continued as the main line between Southampton and Christchurch, Bournemouth and Poole.
The section between Brockenhurst and Hamworthy Junction via Ringwood was abandoned. The rail track and much of the infrastructure was demolished and removed.
After a period of time, and after much of the abandoned line had been reclaimed by nature, the decision was taken to create a leisure resource.
The Castleman Trailway is one of Dorset’s gentlest way-marked, walking, cycling and, in places, horse riding routes. This 16.5 mile (26.5 kilometres) trailway follows much of the old Southampton to Dorchester railway line. There are a few necessary diversions from the route. For example, there is no off road trail in the Wimborne section. The road has to be followed until the trail can be picked up again at The Willett Arms Pub.
The Trailway is signposted throughout and is easily accessed all along the route. It passes through the villages of Ashley Heath, West Moors, Oakley, Broadstone and Upton.
The Trailway takes you through some of East Dorset’s stunning landscape. It is a quiet place reclaimed by nature but retains the easy level track of the old railway.
There are two trail heads. One is at Bickerley Road in Ringwood, and the other is the car park at Upton Country Park.
Country Parks along the route
The trail links in with three of Dorset’s country parks, Moors Valley, Upton, and Avon Heath. Each of these country parks can provide a day out in its own right. Connections via the Trailway and the Corkscrew Railway give some historical context.
The Trailway is managed in partnership by Dorset Council, BCP Council and Hampshire County Council with support from other organisations.