New seating and animal homes have been installed along the River Lim Path.

Dorset-based furniture designer and maker, Alice Blogg, has recently completed the ‘Perching Places’ project for the river between Lyme Regis and Uplyme, which includes benches themed around the River Lim’s historical watermills.

The wooden seating together with the animal houses are aimed at encouraging people to stop at places along the path.

Three seats have been installed, one at The Glen in Uplyme, which reflects the large cogs used to help drive machinery still seen at the town mill, the second at Windsor Terrace, which reflects the millstones used to grind corn, and the third is near the ford at Millstream, which reflects the structure of waterwheels, used to drive the mill machinery.

Alice worked in collaboration with Common Ground to design the seating and animal houses.

She said: “This has been a fantastic project to develop, together with a wider team of people in the making and installation of the seating.

“It is wonderful to be involved in such a project, which has drawn its inspiration from the Lim Valley’s environment and heritage.

“I very much hope that those walking the path will enjoy the benches and that they add to people’s overall experience and enjoyment of the path.”

There are three different types of animal homes for bees, bats and birds which have thatched roofs. These have been installed in trees around the seating areas.

Alice worked with bee expert Matt Somerville and made the homes with the help of students at the Lyme Regis Boat Building Academy.

Will Reed of the academy said: “We were delighted to participate in this most interesting and very local project, which involved the students working with large tree trunks and different tools, which was a great contrast to their usual work on boat building and gave a great insight into the diversity of working with wood.”

Improvements to the River Lim path between Lyme Regis seafront, town mill and Uplyme have been taking place over the past year and have included new surfacing and signage, replacement of a bridge, gates and finger posts and a new footway alongside the B3165 in Uplyme, connecting the path to the rest of the East Devon Way.

River Lim ‘Z-Card’ maps have been produced and are available for free at the museum, Tourist Information Centre and other outlets around Lyme Regis and Uplyme.

New interpretation boards have also been installed at the same locations as the new seating and the last element in the project is the restoration of the stone ramp leading to the ford at the end of Millstream. This work is being carried out by Tom Trouton, a specialist in stone working, and is currently underway.

The River Lim Path project is part of the Dorset Coastal Connections portfolio of 18 projects along the Dorset coast, which aims to support and boost the economies of Dorset’s coastal areas.

Nikki Parker-Goads, of Dorset Coastal Connections, said: “The River Lim Path improvements have made a real difference to the path and the experience of enjoying the river valley.

“It is being well used and we have received many positive comments.

“The innovative seating and animal boxes provide a truly unique addition to the path and celebrate the local distinctiveness of the Lim Valley.”

The project is being funded by a grant from the government’s Coastal Communities Fund and partner organisations and is coordinated by Dorset Coast Forum.

The Lyme Regis to Uplyme path project has been led by LymeForward in partnership with The Arts Development Company, Dorset Council’s Countryside Rangers Project Development and Devon County Council countryside and rights of way teams, as well as local landowners.