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Romans and Railways Trailway

A tour of Broadstone and district for walkers and cyclists using the trailway.

This route of about 6 miles can be followed on foot or by bicycle. The surface is variable, particularly on Roman Road, and in some places it will be necessary to get off your bike and walk. Parts of the route are affected by development - proceed with care.

    1. Start from the car park in Station Approach, Broadstone and take the Trailway alongside the Sports Centre. This was the site of Broadstone Pond which appears as the first reference to Broadstone on Isaac Taylor's map of 1765. The pond was drained when the railway was built 1847, and in 1872 a station was opened here called New Poole Junction but it was not until 1890 that the station was called Broadstone.
    2. The new bridge crosses the access road to Broadstone Golf Course. The course was laid out in 1898 for Lord Wimborne's family and friends and was opened by Mr Balfour, the nephew of Lord Salisbury the Prime Minister of the time and later to become Prime Minister himself. The future Kind George VI played the course during the First World War while on leave from the Navy and Sir Winston Churchill also played here. The club house was originally separated from the course by the railway and the two were linked by an iron bridge.
    3. The entrance to Delph Woods is on your right. The world 'Delph' is derived from the Old English word for mining and quarrying and is a site from which local people extracted sand and gravel for building purposes. Tyalor's map of 1765 also shows that there was a brick kiln in the area and brick-making lasted into the 20th Century. Twenty-four acres of woodland are public open space and contain a Woodland Trail.
    4. The bridge carries the main road between Poole and Wimborne. The steps leading off to the left bring you to Merley Stores, once a coach house for Merley House, the ancestral home of the Willett family. (The traily ends at the Willett Arms: cross the main road and the bridge over the Wimborne By-Pass and turn immediately left into the bridleway to Willett Road).
    5. To your right is the old Blandford to Wimborne Railway line opened in 1860 but closed as early as 1933.
    6. This point gives a panoramic view of Wimborne from Canford Bridge to your right (built in 1793), to Julians Bridge (1636 and rebuilt in 1844). The main buildings of Wimborne, including the Minster, Deans Court and the Old Grammar School, lie in a group of trees across the Stour. (Turn left under the bridge - please leave gates as you find them)
    7. This hamlet was the original merley, pre-dating Merley house and the modern settlement, three-quarters of a mile away. 'Merley' is reputed to mean a glad by a pool. (Take the second turning left into Lamb's Green Lane. At the bend take the gravel path to the right of the chapel-like building. Between Pine Road and Merley Park Road the route is a footpath, not a bridleway: cyclists should walk their bikes here).
    8. Happy Bottom forms a pleasant wetland habitat supporting a wide variety of plants and animals. The stream which drains to the Stour acts as a watering hold for deer, foxes and other mammals. No explanation for the name 'Happy Bottom' has been found.
    9. Under the bracken to your left is the best preserved section of Roman Road in this area, constructed to support the invasion of 43AD. The turf and gravel construction, with drainage ditches either side, is indicative of the haste with which it was built. This section crosses Barrow Hill which shows evidence of an earlier Bronze Age culture: farming the easily tillable soils on the upper edges of the Stour Valley and burying their dead in barrows or tumuli.
    10. Beyond Springdale Road to your right was Corfe Lodge Farm where sixty acres of lavender were grown to supply a perfume factory in Station Approach, Broadstone, at the turn of the century. This area is reputedly haunted by the Lavender Lady of Corfe Lodge who disappeared in nearby marshes while searching for her lost child.
    11. The land either side of the route at this point is protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Upton Heath is one of the few remaining fragments of the Dorset Heath and provides a fragile habitat for rare species such as the Sand Lizard and Dartford Warbler.
    12. Northbrook Road was formerly called Victoria Road and in the 1930's much of the view would have been taken up by the greenhouses on the many small nurseries here. Some of the fruit and vegetables produced here were despatched to more distant markets by train.