Natural Eden Images Nature Photography by Stephen James Thompson
Natural Eden Images Nature Photography by Stephen James Thompson

Wildlife of the Engine Lonning


Once the last tracks of the railway line was dismantled the Engine lonning was left to nature,the trees grew fast and the overgrowth covered all the landfill that was dropped here.The trees created habitats for the many different species of birds and the overgrowth made cover for Rabbits.The warm summer air triggers the caterpilars to metamorph into colourful butterflies that flit from bramble bushes onto the paths to bathe in the warm sun, as the dusty breeze blows the familiar smell of Carrs biscuits across the land, the shortbread biscuits send out there smell through the vents of the Mcvities factory as they pass down the line.Wild orchids grow in profusion close to the Foxgloves and wild garlic that emit there strong aroma.Walking down the wooden steps constructed by the old railway sleepers dug up from the old Canal sheds you drop down to the river where two Grey Wagtails alight disturbed by your presence.Over the river a Heron patiently waits to grab a Minnow from the slack water created from the stream that flows down from the weir.Walking upstream towards the weir you pass signs of old industrial buildings the first being the old Bonemill with only the waterwheel chamber visible, the second industrial building is the old disused powerstation building once part of a larger site that supplied Carlisle with Electric.As the warm dusty breeze blows across the river Sandmartins swiftly glide close to the surface to grab flies that emerge from the water creating small dipples on the surface like water dropplets.As you head upstream towards the Caledonian railway bridge that carries the Northern line to Scotland, Rabbits bolt out in front of you and the distinctive chattering calls of Goldfinches pass overhead as they fly by in flocks.Passing under the bridge you suddenly pick up the scent of a Fox that has left his strong musty odour on the path as he searched for Rabbits and Mice in the night to feed the cubs that lay in waiting along the railway line.The smell of the fox suddenly disappears to be replaced by the pungent stink of the Carlisle sewer works as the breeze changes direction.All this is just glanced on a casual summer walk in the shadows of Hadrians wall close to the City of Carlisle.

An old image from the 1950s at Engine Lonning as a steam train passes the large signal box that stood close to the NB bridge
Chaffinch near the Cally bridge
A Longtailed tit at the bottom of Engine Lonning sheltering from April showers

An early summer strole on the site of the old Canal Engine sheds

Amongst the undergrowth in the shade of bramble bushes and thick gorse lies remains of the old Engine sheds that contained the mighty steam trains that once lined up to receive daily maintenance within the sheds.The large old sheds now long gone have left a deserted land of natural overgrowth strewn with old remains of wooden sleepers and the bricks that were used in the construction of the sheds.The sound of steam engine whistles and the roar of steam now replaced by the peaceful tune of a Bluetit that clings to a tree that grows out from a gap between an uprooted section of concrete that was once the floor of the Canal shed.

A Bluetit on the site of the Engine Sheds

Where the turntable once manouvered the large trains,turning them to face there desired direction along the tracks little remains to be seen of it now totally consumed by trees and overgrowth with the only turning being done by fluttering Butterflies that flit and spin and hover over wild flowers in the summer sun.

A Butterfly on the site of the railway turntable

Gallery of Nature from the Engine Lonning...