MORE than 1,000 people have signed a petition against a proposed travellers’ site in East Dorset in its first three days.

The Friends of Uddens Woodland are horrified at the thought of losing a popular walking spot at Cannon Hill to 25 gypsy traveller pitches and want Dorset County Council to think again.

The council has already obtained £1.75million in government funding for the project. The six-hectare plot off the A31 is one of 12 recently approved in a public consultation.

Friends chairman Mike Gorse, 65, said: “We are keeping going.

“We want the council to use the money for a travellers’ site elsewhere and leave that woodland alone because there is nowhere else that people can use for recreation. Go back to the government and say: ‘Can we spend this money elsewhere?’ They couldn’t have dreamed of a worse place.”

Hundreds of people use the land, criss-crossed by the Castleman Trailway, for dog walking and horse riding.

“We are not anti-gypsy,” Mr Gorse said.

“If the woodland was in danger we would be objecting if it was houses, straight homes or £1million mansions.”

In the winter the ground is damp and becomes ‘tinder dry’ in the summer, he says, and fire engines could struggle to get down the narrow lane.

Petitions can be signed at The Old Thatch pub and Wimborne Garden Centre.