Disused Railway



Betts Ecology have been commissioned to examine ecological impacts on disused railways on several occasions. These linear habitats have often become exceptionally rich in species during the decades since they were closed to trains. Some have been designated as nature reserves, indeed we own one such ourselves, but others have been subject to planning applications to bring them within development schemes of one kind or another, risking the loss of their ecological wealth. It is not often possible to save them in toto, but at least records of their biodiversity can be made and, in some cases, representative parts retained within greenspace in the new land-use scheme, as here.

Client & Location

Development company – Somerset


Betts Ecology conducted a range of surveys including botany and entomology, extrapolating the results to reveal the ecological status of the site and make evidence-based proposals for the planning process. The specialist knowledge of our scientists for identifications of botanical and macro-invertebrate taxa on this biodiverse site was of particular value.


Betts Ecology identified undesirable ecological trends and impacts, and management solutions including retention of open ground and nutrient-poor ballast in the track bed and embankments where notable calcicolous grassland had developed. Recommendations to planners included areas for retention within development plans and efforts to secure long-term protection and appropriate management for other representative parts of the disused line in mitigation and compensation.

Photos © Betts Ecology unless otherwise stated