Shropshire Star

Villagers aghast after council 'desecrates' ancient hedge

Residents in a tiny Shropshire hamlet say their village has been "desecrated" after council workers turned up and cut back an ancient damson hedge.

The hedge in Homer after it was cut by Shropshire Council

People living in Homer, which is just outside Much Wenlock, say the actions of Shropshire Council's environment team has caused "deep distress" in the village.

One villager, who has lived in Homer for 20 years, said the council arrived on Sunday and flailed the ancient hedge.

"They came in a huge tractor with an enormous flail on Sunday to cut back the old and valued hedge within the village," she said. "The work done was so awful that huge spikes and broken branches have been left sticking out in a pedestrian area with no footpath.

"The ground is also littered with shards and spikes which could seriously harm pedestrians and in particular, children."

The resident, who didn't want to be named, said a number of people in Homer, which consists of just 105 houses, have complained to the Council about the cutting of the hedge, which is thought to have sat in the village since it was founded four hundred years ago.

"We have never had this desecration in the village before," she said. "People are in deep distress. There is a gentleman here who carefully trims and looks after it every year.

"It is a very old hedge that has never been cut before and contains some of the damson trees which were part of the damson orchard which formerly encompassed the entire village.

"In spring it looks beautiful but not any more. It has been severely damaged."

She added that the hedge may also be on land not belonging to Shropshire Council.

"We think the hedge is beyond the council's remit. Maps in the Land Registry show that the verge and hedge that has been desecrated belong to the title of the Lord of the Manor of Homer and Wiwig."

She said the current "lord" resided in America after buying the title several years ago and that the verges, copses, hedgerows and alleyways in the area belong to his estate.

The Lord of Homer and Wiwig was unavailable to comment, but a spokesperson for Shropshire Council said on Thursday: “The hedge is on public land and was trimmed by Shropshire Council’s highways team, who will be returning today to tidy it up.”