Friends of Fishermans Walk
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fishermans walk c1905

Fishermans Walk c 1905

Courtesy of Bournemouth Libraries.

The History of Fisherman’s Walk.

The Fisherman’s Walk area of Southbourne was originally controlled by the District Council of Pokesdown, which has long since disappeared.

Originally, the actual Fisherman’s Walk was on the boundary of the Stourwood Estate, which was put up for sale in 1893, although it was proposed at this time that many of the trees were to remain - much of the fir plantation was destroyed. It was also arranged at this time that the original straight pathway was improved and widened - allowing today’s gardens to be built with some of the original firs still standing.

Fisherman’s Walk gardens were built and opened by the Mayor of Bournemouth in 1913. The gardens were built alongside and named after a straight woodland walk that had been used for many years by local fishermen on their way from the beach to the New Bell Inn at Pokesdown. The bandstand was at the heart of these ornamental gardens and bands would play regularly throughout the year. The pond and the rose gardens were possibly added at a later date, indeed from looking at a photo taken of the coastal end of the Walk in 1912 – it is clear that the pond and rose garden had not been developed yet due to the presence of the sand dunes so typical to this area before this time

fishermans walk c1912

Fishermans Walk c 1912.

Courtesy of Bournemouth Libraries

In photos taken in 1905 and 1920 – it is clear that there were many more pine trees present than exist today – these would most probably have been planted due to the believed benefits to health of breathing in the pine fragrance that went hand-in-hand with Bournemouth’s popular reputation as a ‘spa’ town.

Today, Fisherman’s Walk contains original features such as pine trees, the bandstand, the pond and surrounding garden – the surrounding fencing (that was once chestnut paling) has been removed and replaced by knee-rail fencing alongside the Portman Crescent boundary. The trees have been thinned and many deciduous trees including Horse Chestnut now spread magnificently throughout the Gardens – the previous thinning of the trees has created sun-drenched glades near to the bandstand.

A group called the Friends of Fisherman’s Walk formed in 2006 and raised money to provide two noticeboards for the Walk. In 2007 they were awarded £10,000 by the Lottery fund: Breathing Places to promote and increase the wildlife value within the Walk. The Walk has been and will continue to be a busy and beautiful Park that connects the busy high street of Southbourne with the Clifftops, seafront and beaches.

If you would like to know more about Fishermans Walk and the Friends group, please contact us by telephone on 07831 175312 or by email