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Lewes Railway Land Wildlife Trust logo designed by 11-year-old Alex Mobbs

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Short History

Lewes used to be a busy rail centre where trains were made up to carry goods all over the country. These included Livestock, Farm supplies, Manure, Coal, Chalk, Cement, Fish, Timber, Beer, Bricks, Engineering equipment, Farm machinery... and much more!

There were 11 sidings, each able to hold 35 wagons and in 1911, nine thousand, eight hundred and forty six wagons were shunted in the sidings every week. Lewes was a busy, noisy, dangerous place.
In what is now a woodland, there was once a large house called Leighside. It had a big garden and one of the railway lines ran through it on a brick viaduct. Due to flooding, the house was demolished in 1947 and the viaduct was pulled down in 1990. The Railway Land became a forgotten backwater known to local children as the 'Boneyard'.
In 1988, local people saved the site as a wildlife site and in 1995 it was declared a Local Nature Reserve. The site is important for birds, wild flowers, butterflies, amphibians and over 1,100 species of insects.
Today, many people from dog walkers to students use the site for many different reasons. One project has enabled people with learning disabilities to show us things in a different way by taking photographs every month from exactly the same point.