GET back to nature with a new wildlife play area launched just in time for the spring and summer.

Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) has announced new opening hours and a new play area at Lorton Meadows.

The centre will be open Wednesday to Sunday every week during term time, and Tuesday to Sunday during the school holidays, from 10am-5pm.

The new wildlife play area at Lorton Meadows, designed and constructed by Arthur Frost Design, features seven themed ‘pieces’, including stepping stone leaves, a balance snake and wildlife log for children to play on in the safety of the picnic area.

Each weekend at Lorton Meadows will have a wildlife theme – including woodland wildlife, moths and dragonflies, with children’s activities such as pond dipping and crafts. There will be more events during the school holidays for families and wildlife enthusiasts alike such as wildflower and butterfly walks, and our popular Caterpillar Kids activities. The reserve is a fantastic place for a day out for everyone, with nature trails, woodlands and meadows to explore every day.

The 75ha (180 acres) reserve is located within the town of Weymouth and boasts a wonderful variety of wildlife including green woodpeckers, nesting kestrels, marbled white and holly blue butterflies, bee orchids, cowslips and other wildflowers typical of old meadows.

Sam Dallimore, community conservation officer for DWT, said: “We want as many people as possible to get involved with their local wildlife – birds, minibeasts, mammals and wildflowers. By opening the centre for longer, we will be able to run more exciting family events and talk to visitors about the amazing wildlife on the reserve.”

Megan Shersby, seasonal assistant for DWT, added: “We are looking to recruit weekend volunteers to assist at both our Lorton Meadows and Chesil Beach centres. Volunteering with Dorset Wildlife Trust is a brilliant opportunity to help your local wildlife, and to gain new skills, friends and knowledge.”

To find out more about events at the Lorton Meadows and Chesil Beach Centres, visit , follow on Twitter at @DorsetWildlife or pick up an events leaflet at either centre.

For enquiries about volunteering at Lorton, call 01305 816546.