The Isle of Man is famous for its Glens and Groudle Glen just north of Onchan is one of the most attractive – not only for walking, but also for the “Groudle Glen Railway.”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/man/transport/groudleglen/index.html
The glen had been developed as a tourist attraction for Victorian holiday makers at the end of the C19th when the owner planted hundreds of trees along the bare hillsides. Visitors paid a fee and could explore the rustic paths and bridges along the glen with attractions like lily ponds, dance floor, bowling and croquet greens, bandstand and various stalls. There was even waterwheel was was originally used to pump water to the hotel on the road above the glen and to power a generator for lighting the glen.
A rocky inlet at the headland was dammed and closed off with iron bars and sea lions were introduced here as a mini zoo. Later two polar bears were added. A bridge across the inlet let visitors admire the sea lions and polar bears. There were tropical birds as well as brown bear cubs which tourists could take for a walk. As the popularity of the zoo increased, a narrow gauge railway was built to carry passengers to the zoo.
Now the Glens belong to the Manx government and are free to all to enjoy. The Groudle Glen Railway survives but the other attractions have gone. The Waterwheel survived until earlier this year but has had to be demolished, although there are plans to rebuild it.
A series of footpaths follow the stream down to a small pebbly beach at Port Groudle.
Most visitors access the glen off the A11 with the most popular access point being the footpath opposite the Groudle Glen Tram Station, where there is some on road car parking. From here, a footpath drops down the glen to the beach or up to Lhen Coan station. Alternatively, footpaths lead under the viaduct to the A2, the main Onchan to Laxey road. This is less popular and is not such a good footpath.
The walk is particularly good after rain when there is a lot of water coming down the stream but it does get wet and muddy in places. It is not suitable for pushchairs or anyone who has mobility problems as the path is quite steep in places.
Even if you are not interested in a ride on the railway, this is a very attractive Glen and makes a good walk.