CONCERNS have been raised about the future of a Poole nature reserve known as “God’s little acre”.

Trees and gorse have been cut back at a protected area next to the SSSI Ham Common Nature Reserve, in Hamworthy, sparking fears for its future.

Poole Harbour Canoe Club members want to move their base from another corner of the reserve and were given the go-ahead from the council to clear the area.

Old Town resident Eddie Groves, 77, says the reserve, off Lake Drive, has been preserved since a campaign to save it 20 years ago. Mr Groves said: “To me this is wanton destruction of an area loved by a lot of people in Poole and visitors from elsewhere.

“It’s been kept as it is since it was stamped as a reserve in 1992.

“I want the people of Poole to know what the council is doing – we’ll lose it if we’re not careful.”

Mr Groves described the cut-back area, at the back left of the free Lake Drive car park, as big enough to put a house on.

“I spent so much time working on the nature reserve,” Mr Groves said. “I think it’s criminal. We all call it God’s little acre. It’s a wonderful place.”

The reserve is home to a variety of wildlife including the Dartford Warbler, he said.

Clive Smith, head of leisure services at the Borough of Poole, said the council was in discussions with the club about a relocation, which it supports “in principle”.

Mr Smith said: “The council values this important piece of public open space and we would like to reassure residents that we do not intend for it to be lost.”

A spokesman for the 500-member canoe club said the current club hut was falling down and could not hold all its boats.

“We have no changing or teaching rooms and struggle to provide for the continual influx of new members,” he added.