THE head of the Malvern Hills Trust has reflected on one of the most difficult years in its history.

In the 2020/21 annual report, Duncan Bridges, CEO of the trust, reflected on the pandemic and how it impacted the work of the trust as a whole.

Calling it a "year beyond normal", Mr Bridges said the last 12 months has been a "surreal experience" with the trust looking to get back on its feet again.

Writing in the annual review, available via the trust's website, he wrote: "On occasion walking across parts of the hills at different times during the last 12 months has been a surreal

experience – from witnessing a landscape almost devoid of people during the first full Covid-19 lockdown period in April and May, to the opposite extreme in June and July of 2020 when car parks were crowded with throngs of family groups and individuals all seeking fresh air and respite from the close confines that the national Covid-19 restrictions imposed.

"Unlike many other charities and similar organisations, the Trust was not eligible to benefit from any of the big grant schemes that were introduced by both the Government and others to help relieve the financial pressures on organisations like ours.

"While dealing with all the Covid-19 related measures was a major challenge, other work was still undertaken – from continually dealing with the litter and parking, guarding against fires or other damaging activities, maintaining paths and infrastructure, and simply dealing with the high numbers of visitors and users of the landscape.

"My thanks to all of those who have continued to support and maintain the work of the Trust throughout this period – staff, trustees and volunteers alike.

"It has tested our resilience and capacity, but I am pleased to report that it has not stopped us from delivering the core functions of the charity – the protection of the landscape and its maintenance as an open space for public access."

To read Mr Bridges' review in full, go to