A MURAL has been painted on the wall of the ticket office of a Dorset tourist attraction. 

The mural, described as a “true labour of love”, was painted in acrylics and depicts Corfe Castle as well as various wildlife, flora and fauna found in the ruins. 

Purbeck National Trust ranger Mark Newton took 11 hours of planning to piece, and 110 hours to do the painting. 

Known as the Artful Ranger because of his talent for drawing and painting wildlife, he is on a mission to encourage curiosity and knowledge about the natural world. 

Measuring 4.6 x 3.2 metres, the mural now bares alexanders plant, which grows around the castle mound, and Pale St John’s Wort – a plant used for medicinal purposes for centuries and which has sunny yellow petals. 

The mural also depicts wall lizards, which aren’t native to Corfe Castle but were first recorded there in 2006 as well as peregrine falcons, the fastest creature on the planet at 200mph, which nest at Corfe Castle. 

The lizards are thought to have been released by a private breeder but have taken to Corfe Castle, spending time among the rubble and walls and basking in the sunshine on warm days. 

Mark said: “Now more than ever, environmental issues and declining biodiversity are hugely important topics, so I think it's vital to raise people's awareness of the beauty and uniqueness of our natural heritage. 

“It really means a lot to have my work in such a public place, where visitors can see it and learn about the animals and plants at Corfe Castle.” 

Other species painted include swifts, jackdaws, the adonis blue butterfly, ravens and Herdwick sheep employed around the castle mound, helping to keep back the long grasses and encourage specialist wildflowers to grow.    

Mark’s mural can be seen at the Corfe Castle ticket office during opening hours (10am to 4pm).  His artwork can also be found on most social media channels via @theartfulranger.