The revamp of a town centre oasis is under way to create new cycle paths, a wildlife haven and a green breathing space.

More than 400 young trees are being provided to help transform the Asker Meadows in Bridport thanks to a local woman’s initiative.

Diggers have rolled on to the 20-acre site to lay a temporary road surface to allow access to construction traffic for the new bridge linking the meadows to the New Zealand site and the town.

Town mayor and mayoress David and Anne Rickard met at the site to see the start of the works designed to create a public open space with access for walkers and cyclists to and from Bothenhampton, East Street and the southern end of the town.

They thanked Emma Parkinson, who has successfully applied for a free tree pack from the Woodland Trust on behalf of the town.

Emma put in a successful application and the 420 native species trees will arrive in November for mass community planting.

Emma said she had seen a leaflet about the Woodland Trust and took the initiative to apply, working with town surveyor Daryl Chambers to supply plans and convince the Trust that there was space available. The pack will contain hawthorn, hazel, blackthorn, oak, rowan and silver birch.

After the new bridge is lifted into place by a 20-tonne crane, much of the temporary road surface will be lifted up, leaving the base for the cycle paths.

The stock-grazing areas will be redefined, opening up the riverside for public use and the paths will be fully accessible.