Wilfrid George, a former resident and chemist in Halesworth, purchased a length of the old Southwold Railway Line in 1966. It runs for over 350 metres east from the Folly to the boundary with Major Rodwell’s land. In order to safeguard its long term use by the local community it was gifted to the Millennium Green Trust in 2009.
Extract from a letter from Wilfrid George dated 6th September 1989:
About 1963 it looked to me as if all hope of the Southwold Railway ever re-opening was lost, mainly because the old bridge on Blythburgh Dam, where the A12 went up over the railway, had been levelled out. So there was a likelihood that the land would be sold up – accordingly I started making enquiries. Halesworth UDC was warned that ‘someone was trying to buy up the Folly’ – and I was only too pleased to let them take over my offer. But they were not interested in the 340 yards of track to the east, which I had tried to buy also, and so I made an offer for that. So I finally in 1966 purchased what I call ‘Rails’ End’ which goes along the old railway line from Birds Folly to the property ‘Abbots Hill’ owned by Mr Rodwell.
The Definitive Map of Public Rights of Way only included the footpath across the western access to the Folly, despite the fact that the whole area, plus the old track, had been in regular use ‘as of right’ by the public apparently since closure of the rail service in 1929. So I submitted certain claims for additions to the Definitive Map. ………….Another was from Holton Road down the track outside the eastern edge of the Folly to Rails’ End. I do not know how this application is proceeding but since everyone has always used these routes without hindrance for fifty or sixty years there seems little chance that it can be refused.
This left Rail’s End a bit isolated further east and I was about to tidy this up in a deal with Mr Bensly when he needed to run a surface water drain under my land at the bottom of his drift (opposite Mr Muttitt’s house in Holton Road) I granted him permission for the drain in exchange for his dedication of his drift as a public footpath. This has been legally documented and so anybody can now walk the right of way from Mr Muttitt’s down to the railway and along to the Folly. (Everyone was doing it anyway, before all this, but it is best to have it documented)”