A LONG disused railway is to get a new lease of life thanks to a £40,000-plus restoration project.

Ringwood Society has successfully secured a grant of £43,880 for a project to restore an area of land formerly part of the town’s old railway - which closed just under 60 years ago.

The grant, awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, will both fund work on the land as well as archive/memory-based exhibitions.

The project consists of two major parts:

  1. Capturing memories of the railway in pictures, video and audio forms and sharing these via exhibitions and online means.
  2. Revitalising a small area of land that belongs to the Bisterne Estate and was part of the coal yard. This will involve tidying the site, restoring the sign and lamp and erecting an information board.

Bournemouth Echo: Illustration of proposed restoration to part of Ringwood railwayIllustration of proposed restoration to part of Ringwood railway (Image: Ringwood Society)

Joe Moorhouse, chair of Ringwood Society, said: “Initially, we explored a project to restore the piece of land we refer to as ‘Railway Corner’ through volunteer efforts and local sponsorship.

“However, it became clear that a bigger opportunity exists to accompany the restoration with capturing memories. We wanted to involve and appeal to a wide cross-section of the town, providing a lasting legacy.”

The railway through Ringwood closed to passengers in 1964, with organisers keen to arrange the project in time for the 60-year mark.

Ringwood Society committee member Mary DeBoos said: “We shaped our initial ideas into a project that includes having the right local, professional support.

Bournemouth Echo: Ringwood RailwayRingwood Railway

“This means that by far the majority of the grant will be spent locally. The funding allows us to involve young people in exploring and documenting the memories.”

Mr Moorhouse added: “A grant of this size is a first for the Ringwood Society and I am very grateful to Mary for her role in spearheading the grant application.

“We are greatly encouraged by getting this support from a renowned body such as the National Lottery Heritage Fund and hope it will be the first of many.”

For more information or to get involved in the project, visit ringwoodsociety.org.uk for more information.