A Suitable Natural Greenspace will be opened on 6 April in Bytheway Field in Colehill, East Dorset, as part of a preservation of heathland plan following construction in the area.
In 2010, East Dorset Council began planning the creation of a Suitable Accessible Natural Green Space (SANG) in the area, following the demolition of the former Flight Refuelling site in Wimborne and construction of a new housing set. £322,000 was obtained from Charles Church and Persimmon Homes and is being used to provide the open space.
SANGs are designated areas of green space intended to provide mitigation for potential impact of residential development on nearby heathland by preventing an increase in visitor pressure in the area.
Matt Reeks, Senior Ranger at East Dorset Council, said: “It used to be an industrial site and the old factory has been unused for many years. When they decided the housing development and the factory was demolished, the council allowed developers to go with the project and they provided funding via the Heathland Mitigation Fund to mitigate the impact of homes built in the immediate area.”
“It’s positive because it will be not only a green area for people, but will enable a good living and preservation of wildlife as well,” he said.
Councillor Spencer Flower, of East Dorset Council, said: “East Dorset District Council purchased Bytheway from the National Trust in 1999 and it has been used by local people since then. However, it was an area that we wanted to develop to make it accessible to more people and the Heathland Mitigation Fund provided the necessary funds for the work to be carried out.
“It has been designated as a SANG because it is a site where a large number of visitors will not have a detrimental effect on the biodiversity of the green space. We are proud that this is the first SANG to be provided under the Dorset Heathlands Planning Framework,” he added.
The work at Bytheway, which was designed after consultation with local residents, will include 3,000 metres of pathway suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs and development of the 37 acre space. A lake has been dug at the lowest part of the site, a walkway has been constructed across the lake, and a dog-proof fence has been installed to allow people to walk their dogs safely. A children’s play area will be unveiled later this summer.
Main image by Mike Faherty.