A PARISH council is launching a project to find out more about its local river.

Over the Easter weekend, the Char Valley Parish Council (CVPC) will be launching its River Char Community Project.

Residents will be receiving their latest copy of the ‘Char Chat’, the parish newsletter, along with a questionnaire on nature observations and their opinions of their local river. Although a small river in width, the Char and its tributaries make up many hundreds of miles of waterways in the Marshwood Vale.

The parish council is interested in discovering more about the river's water quality and its wildlife habitats. The project will result in the parish council producing a report, alongside Dorset AONB, Dorset Wildlife Trust and the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group South West, to help identify any areas in which improvements may be needed. Practical working parties of residents and other volunteers will be organised to address any areas needing attention.

The project currently covers the CVPC area which includes Morcombelake, Stanton St Gabriel, Whitchurch Canonicorum, Wootton Fitzpaine and Monkton Wylde.

Hilary Joyce, chairwoman of the CVPC, said: “The Char is very much ‘our’ river and we hope people will feel encouraged to own their local environment and help to keep it as attractive as possible.

“The river is a low key, but charming, local asset. In places, its own indigenous brown trout can be seen leaping in the evening and a kingfisher is often seen flashing upstream. The council hopes the community project will help to keep it that way.”

Any visitors to the area are also welcome to help by filling in the questionnaire. The questionnaires can be found by visiting www.charvalley.org