RESIDENTS had the chance to find out more about a major project to dismantle dozens of pylons which march across the west Dorset countryside.

The National Grid works – which will see 22 pylons removed near Winterbourne Abbas and replaced with underground cable – has a total cost of £116 million.

It's all part of improving the landscape in the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Three years of work is due to start this summer as work compounds are built and site accesses constructed.

More than 50 residents attended an event arranged by National Grid to find out more about the plans.

Members of the Visual Impact Provision (VIP) team were on hand to answer questions about what construction will involve. This included plans to minimise disruption during roadworks this summer on the A35 and the nearby Roman Road, and how key walking trails and cycle routes in the area will be managed.

Visitors learnt how 8.8km of overhead line and giant pylons between Winterbourne Abbas and Friar Waddon would be removed.

The key talking points were:

* Construction programme: Local people were interested in the detail and how roads would be impacted. National Grid says details of the roadworks are currently being finalised, but is keen to minimise disruption. Options like night-time working on the A35 are being explored. The Roman Road will be temporarily closed in early 2020.

* Archaeology: There was a large amount of interest in the archaeological finds made to date including sixth-century human skeletons and Bronze Age relics

* Staying in touch: People can sign up to receive project email updates by

National Grid will undertake more archaeological work starting in a few weeks’ time and will start to construct the entrance to the site and main compound in the autumn.

Sam Lamburne, VIP project manager at National Grid, said: “It was fantastic to see so much excitement and enthusiasm from the local community about the VIP project’s potential to transform this special landscape. We want to be clear about what construction will involve over the next few years and how we’re going to reduce disruption wherever possible.

“We’re determined to be a considerate neighbour as we work to remove the pylons and enhance the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for generations to come.”

To find out more about the project see