FREE Christmas trees are on offer - to anyone who can go and chop down one of Avon Valley Country Park's pesky Scots pines.

The trees are so invasive the park is offering one to anyone who goes along this Sunday to help cut them down.

The rangers at the park in east Dorset will be combining conservation, volunteering and festive fun on those days, in an event that usually attracts more than 100 volunteers.

A spokesman or the park said: “It's not often people are encouraged to cut things down for a good cause - especially something they would normally be looking to buy at this time of year.“However, the Scots Pines that are prevalent in certain areas on Avon Heath are invasive to the internationally important heathland there. By removing them, the heathland flourishes and provides the perfect habitat for rare reptiles, insects and plants.

“This is especially valuable as heathland is in fact rarer than tropical rainforest.”The event is followed by a chat around the bonfire with a mince pie, donated by Asda.Carol Dawkins, Dorset Countryside ranger at Avon Heath, said: “There is always a great atmosphere at the event.

“Families feel it adds extra value to their tree knowing they have chosen it where it was growing and cut it down themselves.

“Although Scots Pines are not quite as bushy as the traditional trees used at Christmas, they have the benefit of not shedding their needles.”One event this December has been fully booked since early November. But there are still places available at a second event next Sunday, December 19, although booking is essential.Other volunteering tasks will be taking place at Avon Heath Country Park on the second Sunday of every month and every other Thursday throughout the winter. To book a place, contact Marco Marsango or Kate Martin at Avon Heath Country Park on 01425 478082.