A MYTHICAL beast of carved timber and living willow is set to reinvigorate a much-loved green space in Blackbird Leys.

Plans for the 'Spindleberry Dragon', a 60m sculpture, are being developed by the Oxfordshire Play Association for the Spindleberry Nature Reserve.

Work on the jaw-dropping creation will begin in December and people in the area are urged to help the charity win £12,000 of funding from Tesco for the project.

The first 'dragon', an award-winning 100m long structure made of hazel for children to clamber around and interact with, was unveiled in Magdalen Wood last year.

OPA play development officer Jane Gallagher said: "The steering group got together and looked at areas that needed a bit more love injected into existing public spaces.

"Oxford City Council had a couple of ideas and we plumped for this one.

"It's surrounded by a built-up area with schools and it's a green space that people need to come and play, rest and read. It's perfect for a dragon.

"We also want to make sure we work with the local community so that they are involved as fully as they can be."

The dragon will have a head with imposing features carved from recycled timber that will be visible from some roads jutting over the woodland.

Its body will be woven from coppiced willow and chunky logs with plenty of tunnels and crawl-spaces for youngsters as well as surrounding seats.

Artist Stuart Turner, who drew up the designs, said: "Like the first one, it will grow, and the more it grows the sturdier it gets. You can follow it like a treasure trail.

"There will be chunky logs shipped in as well, and a mixture of trim trail to make the curves of the dragon's back, and hidey-holes to get inside the creature."

Local people and schools will be invited to help make the beast, with workshops on how to use saws and chisels as well as weaving and carving planned.

In Magdalen Wood, Mr Turner said, there had been some concerns about anti-social behaviour, with rubbish getting dumped nearby and people drinking inside it.

But he said: "We did a big outreach there and there has been no vandalism at all. The community adopted it themselves and no-one has tried to burn it down."

From October 31 until November 13 as many people as possible are needed to vote for the project in Tesco's Bags of Help initiative.

It is vying to become one of three initiatives in the region to get a grant of £8,000, £10,000 or £12,000 raised from the 5p bag charge.

More information on where and how to vote will be available later this month.