Long and winding road

After a long battle Dorset Council have started destroying part of ancient Two Mile Coppice in Weymouth to build their so-called  “Relief Road”. This white elephant of a road which would do nothing to solve congestion in the area is a sign of a complete lack of environmental awareness of decision makers in the area.

Two Mile Coppice - Weymouth's last ancient wood

Two Mile Coppice - Weymouth's last ancient wood

Two Mile Coppice is the last remaining fragment of ancient woodland in Weymouth and Portland and was bought by the Trust with the support of local people. Part of the woodland will now be destroyed, but it will still remain as a beautiful, valuable local resource and we hope people will continue to use the site as they always have.

There is a constant claim coming from the council and the local MP that this road has something to do with Weymouth hosting the Olympics sailing event when in fact the Olympic organisers are quite clear that travel to Games events should be by public transport. They are also suggesting that the wood destroyed can be translocated somewhere else which again is environmentally illiterate.

You can watch an ITV piece on the case here

We have tried very hard to fight this needless destruction, but when blinkered short-termism is adopted as the approach of those in authority it is sometimes hard to get through to them and in the end it looks like part of the wood is going to be destroyed – you can read more about the case here:


The earlier we hear about cases and the more active local communities are in fighting the threats the better – you can get involved to stop this sort of destruction in the future – go to www.woodwatch.org.uk to find out what you can do.


About Ed Pomfret

Head of campaigns at the Woodland Trust. I run our campaigning work on issues such as climate change, aviation, planning reform and woods under threat.
This entry was posted in Planning, Woods Under Threat and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Long and winding road

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  5. Laurence L. Watts says:

    Thank you Gary,my vocabluary/putting thoughts into words can be a little lacking/blunt,my apologies if ANYONE thought me being rude/abusive it was totally unintentional.
    I think you`ve hit the nail on the head in your last letter,completely.Well Said.I do believe China devized a scheme to cut down on there population by appealing to peoples greed and offering them more money for not having more than 2 offspring,maybe we will have to adopt something like that eventually,as well as stop foreign influx(difficult now we`re in the E.U.).That aside ,i salute the W.T.and ALL the work they do,even if they sometimes get stonewalled.(you cant win them all).Keep Up the Good Work.

  6. Gary Bell says:

    Just to answer Chris’s comments and it won’t be abuse despite the implied insult.
    (..and yes Chris I did send a mail to local Dorset Councillors and also my own MP).

    I think most people using this website appreciate the efforts of the Woodland Trust, the people who gave money towards their efforts and those who did what they could to provide support. The Trust spent many thousands on this which makes it even more sad.

    Yes, compensation (if there will be any worthwhile contribution) potentially could be directed to “new woodland somewhere in Dorset” but this rather misses the point; what has been lost is irreplacable ancient woodland of which there is precious little left in this country – and it’s been lost to build a new road to alleviate local traffic issues.

    The local traffic issues are caused primarily by an ever expanding population; the local Council statistics show this too. There is clearly a direct linkage between the two matters.
    Although in this case, the woodland wasn’t directly being cut down for a housing development this is certainly happening up and down the country as copses and tracts of agricultiral land are converted to housing estates. The proposed “eco towns” are Eco in nothing but name. There may be a slowdown in 2009/2010 whilst Housing companies are hit by the recession but the long term trend is one way.

    It’s not something for this site really but there is a connection so I’ll continue. It is true that there’s a large number of people on the Housing Register in most Boroughs in this country that have applied for accomodation and that demand in particular in the major cities far outstrips supply.
    The Myth is regarding the belief that dramatically increasing the supply of Housing will end that situation when year on year the population keeps on increasing at unsustainable levels. Where and when does it end?
    Unfortunately, with this type of economics and the attitudes/aspirations of most people then the losers will increasingly be woodland, forests, Green Belt, SSI sites and the countryside in general.
    These are tough issues that aren’t being addressed as there are no easy answers without draconian measures that would be unnaceptable to most and therefore no party for the forseeable future is ever going to make them a policy.
    Their time will come though as more realise that we need to have a sustainable economy – but by that time any remnants of Ancient woodland will be a distant memory.

  7. Laurence L. Watts says:

    Yes the Construction Industries need to keep building roads and houses to employ people and house people(J.Easter-C.Elliott)…..but WHY ? Because the real root of the problem is “overpopulation” and that is the one area that “NOBODY” is willing to discuss or address!Sometimes Creativity can used to quell fears or create votes/make a name for yourselfcreate wealth(greed) instead of dealing with the real root problem that nobody dare deal with.It could be called “Burying your head in the sand” and “Creating(that word again)an attractive diversion/distraction”so we dont have to deal with the “Root Problem”.

  8. Chris Elliott says:

    I’m sad that the CPO process has not ended up with a decision favourable to the Ancient Woodland or to the Trust as the owners for the community. Although its not the same WT should be able to get something from the County Council as a form of compensation including replacement woodland/financial contribution to new woodland somewhere in Dorset – bear in mind its the County Council elections this June!!! Now is a good time to try.

    I’m also a bit sad about some of the comments – resigning from WT! If you’re a local did you lobby your Councillor? MP? Maybe you did – if so well done to you, if not, don’t leave it to others and don’t complain or run away!

    I have to say I’m also saddened that some folk seek to ignore our real hidden housing problem – we really are short of houses for some people in this country; I don’t say at all that our woodlands should go to create them – but lets not use one issue to deny another. Creativity lies in finding solutions not problems – any idiot can find a problem.

    I look forward to the abuse in reply. :o)

  9. jessica easter says:

    It’s also, sadly, the economics being stuck. The road construction industry, house building industry ‘needs’ to keep building or people will be out of work. WE work at the wrong things though, destroying instead of creating. The council are making an economic decision that is short sighted but to them it is the only one to make. What could earn these workers a living instead? We are indeed in a big old mess when councils and industry believe that the way to survive is short term industry that destroys ancient woodland for nothing but the food required on the table of one generation, for only a few years. How sad, how sad. But William R is absolutely correct, fight on. Creating ideas that will sustain us and reach down as inheritance is very very important.

  10. Laurence L. Watts says:

    I am in complete agreement with Graham Bell`s comments,”the root course of (all our enviromental problems)is one of unsustainable population growth and until this is addressed/discussed (nobody/party is doing that)then we can look forward to the total destruction of all countrysides/wildlife etc.
    It is a damning selfish/irrisponsible and self-destructive direction to go that will lead to “No Inheritance for Future Generations” because of a grab what you can now/make a name for myself now attitude,with no thought or consideration for the future whatsoever.

  11. Gary Bell says:

    It’s a great shame as clearly this type of woodland isn’t replaceable but it just shows how most people prioritise/ignore issues.
    As with many other matters from the Great (Lack Of) Housing Myth to the need to tear up Ancient Woodland, the root course is one of unsustainable population growth and until this is addressed or even discussed and it isn’t at all today by ANY party – then we can look forward to the gradual conversion of this type of land to concrete.
    What an inheritance for future generations!

  12. It’s obvious Peter Green is very disappointed but getting people to resign from the WT is just defeating the object. They did their best to stop this pointless destruction. I just hope they get some compensation for the loss, so that they can create another wood elsewhere.
    I stress that I have never owned a car, so no-one is building a road in my name.
    In life you have setbacks, but you just have to pick yourself up and carry on. The WT are doing plenty of good things. More people should join, not resign.

  13. Peter Green says:

    As of the 19th December 2008 the Woodland Trust still own the land that the road is being built on, but have waived their 14 days notice period and told Dorset County Council that
    it is ok to get on with cutting down the Ancient woodland – basically they
    have thrown in the towel without even standing up to argue or delay the
    destruction on their land. The fact that the Woodland Trust still own the land
    was recordered in the Court case of the 18th december 2008 of Dorset
    County Council ‘ v ‘ Persons Unknown in Weymouth County Court. Her
    Majesty’s Land Registry in Plymouth also confirmed it.

    The people of Weymouth brought Two Mile Copse through public
    subscription. Local people dug deeply into their pockets and put their money
    into conserving the land for perpeturity, for us and all future generations.

    Dorset County Council have so far not given one penny in compensation,
    either to the Woodland Trust, nor local people who raised the public money
    to preserve the wood in the first place.

    Shame on the Woodland Trust for chickening out of flighting all the way to save the woods and letting the County Council issue eviction proceedings against the protestors.

    The woodland trust STILL OWN THE WOODS – you can legally stop this destruction on your land at any time, up until when the Compensation money is paid and the deeds are registered at the Land Registry.

    Friends are already writing in to the Woodland Trust to resign and I recommend that more do likewise.

    • Ed Pomfret says:

      Hi Peter just to clarify what happened, we have lost a long fight to stop both this road and at the last we failed to stop the compulsory purchase order. The compulsory purchase process enables them to take possession of the land and commence work before compensation negotiations are finalised. This is what happened – we raised the issue when it seemed that the correct processes hadn’t been followed. But don’t doubt that the Woodland Trust are fully committed to protecting ancient woodland – we have been fighting this case for years and have been one of the main organisations fighting this unecessary road all the way. Sadly we have now reached the end of the line on this and we are as dissapointed as anybody. I’m sorry you feel we’ve let you down in some way, but we have fought this case all the way.
      Ed Pomfret
      Head of campaigns

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