Butts Pond Tree PlantingThe Open Spaces Group works to maintain and improve the open spaces in and around Sturminster Newton. Its main interests are:

  • The state and potential of open spaces in and around the town.
  • Supporting local nature conservation activities.
  • Encouraging wider interest in our wildlife.
  • Maintaining access to the countryside.
  • Preserving and enhancing our trees (through a separate Trees Group).

The Group advises and assists the Town Council and the Dorset Countryside Rangers in the management and upkeep of Butts Pond Local Nature Reserve. This Council-owned remnant of dairy farmland, now surrounded by housing and industrial development, is maintained for public access and enjoyment. It provides habitat for a range of wildlife that, notably, includes the protected Great Crested Newt.

Deep end of pondExamining the newts

Hedgelaying by ditchOther current areas of involvement include:

  • Support for the North Dorset Trailway.
  • Maintenance of the Jubilee Path, including the final section joining Butts Pond Meadows to the Old Market Walk housing development.
  • The improvement of Green Lane, now managed by the Rangers on behalf of the Town Council.
  • Monitoring the maintenance and marking of footpaths.
  • The organisation of Open Days to show pupils of local schools, and interested members of the public, more of the wildlife of the area.

    Jubilee Path

Members of the Group and other volunteers from the community carry out regular maintenance and improvement work under the direction of the Countryside Rangers.

The Group meets every two to three months in the Council Chamber, and welcomes attendance by anyone interested in its work. For more information, contact Jeremy Read (01258 475157 /