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Bid to protect wildlife oasis

by Martin Lea

Tuesday 05 August 2003

A CAMPAIGN is being launched to protect a wildlife oasis in the middle of an urban area.

The six-acre site is just yards from a Weymouth bypass and a housing estate, yet it boasts an abundance of wildlife and is home to four notable Dorset plants including the bizarrely named Corky Fruited Water Dropwort.

Plans are afoot to form a group to protect the Dorset County Council-owned woodland near Radipole County Primary School in Radipole Lane for future generations.

Residents will be asked at a meeting tonight if they would like to lend their support to the campaign.

Danny Alder, conservation and local nature reserve officer for the county council's Countryside Service, said the land, which is popular with dog walkers, is home to a mixture of native trees including oak, ash, cherry, field maple, holly and hazel, as well as a colony of bee orchids.

He said: "In the mid-1990s the county council got together with the Weymouth Civic Society and a group of local people and planted some trees on the land. This was funded by the Forestry Commission with contributions from the council.

"However, over the last few years there has been very limited input in the site and a number of locals have expressed interest in forming a group to protect the area."

At the meeting Mr Alder will talk about the site's history and invite people to join a `Friends of the Wood' protection group.

He said the group would then investigate how best to protect the area and could even pursue nature reserve status.

Volunteers can get involved by planting shrubs, building fences or clearing paths, Mr Alder said.

The meeting is at Radipole County Primary School at 7.30pm.

To support the campaign contact Danny Alder on 01305 251228.

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