Say no to the council – say yes to keeping the Noddy Train at Hengistbury Head

I had a wonderfully happy childhood, mainly because I had wonderfully loving and supportive parents. They encouraged me and allowed me the freedom to make my own choices and my own mistakes. As a child that encouragement was focused on the things I most enjoyed and had a passion for – sport and music mainly – but also a love of the outdoors. Usually that meant playing any number of sports, but it also meant regular trips to such glorious playgrounds as Boscombe Beach, Kings Park, Shelley Park and the heavenly world of adventures on offer at Hengistbury Head.


Formed over 65 million years ago, an illustrious headland just beyond Southbourne, Hengistbury Head offers panoramic views of Bournemouth, Christchurch, Mudeford, out to the Isle of Wight and across the channel as far as the eyes can see. It is never without kites, walkers, nature and its lovers, and once upon a wee while ago it was home to an ‘assault course’ and a tempting selection of small-scale golfing options. As a kid it seemed vast and the possibilities for fun were endless. Amongst the many attractions was a land train, seemingly from the pages of an Enid Blyton novel it was a permanent fixture, tootling tourists and visitors twixt the Hungry Hiker Café and out to Mudeford Spit, carrying passengers and luggage along the winding, narrow sandy lanes, without fuss but with limitless charm. The Noddy Train was its name; a fleet of them have been in operation now for nearly 45 accident-free years, taking the one and a half mile journey every day except Christmas.

Now, in their infinite wisdom Bournemouth Council have decided that it’s time for the Noddy Train to go. With its licence due for renewal, the council now have plans to take ownership of the service, extending the train’s reach as far as Alum Chine. These plans mean replacing these cheap, safe, reliable, environmentally friendly, perfectly formed and much loved historic vehicles with something which, well… nobody wants. The council has made this decision without consulting local residents and visitors to Hengistbury Head. Of course not, because they know public opinion would be unanimously behind keeping the much loved and family-owned Noddy Trains. The fact is there is simply nothing wrong with them, but more than that they bring charm, character and over four decades of smiles and happiness to visitors of Hengistbury Head.


Could it just be possible the decision is being made for financial reasons? Surely it’s not down to aesthetics or the quality or popularity of the current service? This decision is wrong, and so far over 12,000 people have voiced their opinions signing an online campaign protesting against the council’s plans. Will 15,000 signatures make a difference? Will 150,000 signatures be required, or is money talking? To anyone who loves Hengistbury Head and has had the pleasure of a ride on a Noddy Train, please… sign this petition and spread the word. It may be too late, but remaining silent will achieve nothing. Say no to the council – say yes to keeping the Noddy Train!


6 thoughts on “Say no to the council – say yes to keeping the Noddy Train at Hengistbury Head

  1. I visit Hengistbury Head several times each year and although I do not use the land train I can appreciate that it is a boon not only to children but also to those people who are less active physically. The current service is quite adequate and I see no reason for it to be replaced. What does concern me is the sheer arrogance of the Council in its attitude in not willing to reconsider it’s decision in the light of overwhelming public reaction against the destruction of a long standing operation.p

  2. Totally agreed. Not just its attitude against reconsidering this clearly unpopular decision, but to have made the decision without consulting the Bournemouth public (and visitors to Hengistbury Head) in the first place.

  3. The council making the money expect the price of a ticket will be a lot more another money maker for them what a surprise!! The good old saying if it ain’t broke it don’t need fixing!! 45years of a great fun service count for nothing it’s all to do with money and not making memories!!!!

  4. Some potentially very positive news -
    Keep pushing the petition and who knows….

    • Can not beleive that the council are taking land train away I know it as the noddy train I have been going on the train since I was a child now my children go on it and my grand son and all the dogs I have had what is wrong with the council why on earth take this wonderful thing away I trully hope that this petition will work leave things alone how will old people get down there and visitors who will stay in the challets that means the only way of crossing is on the boat one there will not be enough parking for people and 2 they will put the prices of the boat up sky high

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