“SIGNIFICANT” improvements are to be made to the Castleman Trailway between Ashley Heath and West Moors to enhance the accessibility of the route.

Dorset Council says the work, which started this week, will improve drainage, widen the path by removing a central ‘bund’, provide more accessible access points and will see a “higher quality” stone surface installed.

The trail is used by walkers, cyclists and horseriders but the local authority says the “surface quality has deteriorated and becomes extremely muddy after wet weather, reducing year-round access”.​

A ‘bund’ left following utility works currently narrows the path and “exacerbates” the poor drainage of the area, and A-frame barriers restrict access on to the trail for mobility vehicles and bicycles.

Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for highways, travel and environment, said: “By improving the surface quality and access arrangements onto the trail we’ll be able to open up this valuable community route to a wider range of users, such as powered wheelchairs and push chairs, as well as continuing to be safe for all users.”

Salisbury Journal:

“We’ll need to close sections of the trail for the work to be carried out safely, and we appreciate the inconvenience this will cause. However, we’ve programmed the work for the quietest time of year and, I’m sure residents will agree, that this extensive maintenance greatly outweighs the short-term disruption," added Cllr Bryan. 

The work began this week, starting with the removal of the central ‘bund’ between the Holly Grove access point and Horton Road.

For safety reasons the trailway will need to be closed in the works area.

The work will be starting at the eastern end of the route at Verwood Road and progress westward, with sections reopening when work is finished. Towards the end of the scheme the route will need to be entirely closed for the new higher-quality stone to be laid along its length.

The alteration of access barriers will provide easier access for disabled userswhile continuing to restrict motor vehicle access.

In some cases, bollards will be able to be lowered to allow emergency vehicle and maintenance vehicle access.​

The project is being funded by the Department for Transport’s Active Travel Fund. The work is scheduled to finish in early March.


Get more Forest Journal news.

You can also like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date.

Email newsdesk@salisburyjournal.co.uk with your comments, pictures, letters and news stories.