Nickey Line Hazel Tree in Flower

Nickey Line Hazel Tree in Blossom

Although it has urban stretches, the Nickey Line remains predominantly a rural walking and cycling route with plenty to see for the knowing eye. Come and enjoy it with us...

Daily coal train near Wood End Farm c. Alan Willmott - permisson for use given to D Abernethy in meeting before Alan's death


The Steam Railway: During the track’s heyday as a steam locomotive railway line, burning coals and sparks from engines would regularly cause the banks to catch fire. This restricted the growth of shrubs and larger vegetation, resulting in large parts of the line being bordered by grassland with trees along the bank tops and fence lines.

Diesel Locomotives did not have the same impact so, when the steam rail traffic stopped, more woody vegetation colonised the banks.




Autumn Trees In Hemel By Karen Summers 21 300x225


Trees: Trees to look out for along the hedge lined path include oak, ash and cherry. In their dappled shade you can find shrubs such as hazel and holly, with underlying plants including bluebell, bramble and garlic mustard. The denser shade of blackthorn, hawthorn and dog rose supports plants such as bramble, ivy and dogs mercury.



Scallop 1 with Board Hedge Tidied 241122


Grassland: The line still has areas of open grassland (including 'scallops' created deliberately by the Friends - for example by the Wildlife Interpretation Board pictured here), which are home to a wealth of flowering plant species.



Ringlet Butterfly Roger ReynoldsThe Wildlife: The woody and grassy wildlife habitats along the line are home to a diverse range of animals from butterflies to birds and grasshoppers to shrews and foxes. Of course, we see differences throughout the year. Read our monthly Nature Notes to get a taste of what you might see in your selected month.

We wish to thank Roger Reynolds who created the Nature Notes for us and provided many of the images too.

Also see our Wildlife Gallery of Pictures