Fisherman’s Walk

This little park stretches from the bustling Southbourne Grove to the beach between Hengistbury Head and Boscombe Pier.

The park was created over centuries of daily use. Originally, the trail was used to haul the boats of fishermen from Holdenhurst and, perhaps, a bit of smuggling in the 18th century, In 1913 it was expanded as a park for the enjoyment of residents, planting the fir trees that still stand today next to the Monterey Pines that were imported for wood back in 1805. This is a unique area of woodland within a bustling seaside suburb. It was awarded a Green Flag for the best green space in 2010. But it needs a little care and attention ten years later.

One street wide but long, with a bandstand and benches to rest. It’s inhabited by squirrels and birds and a range of butterflies. Tall sweet chestnut trees line the sides of this small wooded escape. Then it opens into a wide, rectangular pond full of weed and wildlife, despite the shabby concrete edges. That’s where the sea breeze begins and you can ride the funicular railway down to the beach.

I try and walk here at least once a week to record the flowers and foliage. Now, it has become part of my daily lock-down exercise. I do realise that I’m extremely lucky.

The squirrels are very photogenic and seem to enjoy my attempts at capturing their antics. Birds are mainly gulls but a few rowdy magpies have taken residence in the taller pines. I’ve spotted a wheatear, flitting across the beach huts, but it’s too quick to capture. The information board shows resident foxes but, even though I’ve seen a dozen on the surrounding roads of suburbia, I have yet to see one here in the Walk. I’m learning about urban wildlife and making the most of this place, hidden away, ten minutes walk from my home.

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