WORK by Malvern Hills Conservators to preserve Midsummer Hill on the Malvern Hills has been criticised by a local resident.

Sally Gibson, who lives at Coombe Green, close to the hill, says she and her two daughters were “horrified” to see trees being cut down and taken away.

But the Conservators say the work is necessary to preserve Midsummer Hill’s Iron Age fort and enhance the wildlife.

Mrs Gibson said: “We were horrifed to find tractors and trailers churning up the native bluebells, contractors felling trees that have been never been touched in generations.

“My daughters were extremely upset and have asked me why they were cutting down trees as it goes against everything they are taught.

“I was always under the assumption that flora on Midsummer Hill were left to do their own natural thing and even when you have done work on this hill in the past trees have been allowed to lie where they fall.”

Jennifer Grantham, the Conservators’ deputy conservation officer, said that Midsummer Hill is designated as both a Scheduled Ancient Monument by English Heritage for its archaeology and a Site of Special Scientific Interest by Natural England for its wildlife value.

She said: “I can appreciate that the work may be shocking but I can assure you that the work is a result of advice and consultation with various partner bodies including Natural England, the National Trust, owners of the Hill fort and their archaeologist, the county archaeologist, English Heritage and a local ornithology expert.”

“The aim of the work was to clear the less ecologicallyimportant trees to protect the archaeology from root damage and thus improving the long-term stability of the Iron Age hill fort so that future generations can enjoy it.

“The work also acts to expand the area of rare species-rich grassland.”

But Mrs Gibson says she is still not happy.

She said: “I’ve lived here all my life, and they’ve never had to do this before. It’s such a lovely area. Why couldn’t they just leave it alone? It doesn’t need to be helped along.”