LOVERS of the Malvern Hills have had their say to help shape the future management of the range.

The Malvern Hills Conservators are creating a new management plan and received 461 responses to its consultation on the most important features and issues facing the hills and commons to help guide their work over the next five years.

A draft of the new plans will be put out for consultation this summer and the full results of the consultation will be available online next month.

The hills' landscape and views emerged as the most popular feature, being named on 34 per cent of replies, with the accessibility of the conservator's land and the flora and fauna also being regarded as highly important, returning 22 per cent and 19 per cent respectively.

The springs, geology and archaeology also made up significant numbers.

Conservation officer Jonathan Bills said: "A huge thank you to all those who responded to the ‘Your Views’ consultation back in the spring.

"Malvern Hills Conservators received an amazing 461 postcard replies telling us your top three important features of the hills and commons and your top three issues too."

On the subject of people's top features, Mr Bills added: "It was great to see grazing livestock also listed as a positive feature of people’s experience of the land."

A total of 16 issues with the hills and commons were raised by respondents, with dogs and mountain biking both returning 15 per cent of the replies in joint first place.

Mr Bills said the conservators would look towards working with both groups of people to improve the situation.

"A failure of some dog owners to pick up their dog’s poo and to keep dogs under proper control were most often quoted.

"With mountain bikes the public highlighted the danger and erosion brought about through some bikers cycling too fast and not sticking to bridleways."

The spread of scrub and trees obscuring views and open areas, with particular focus on the ridge of the hills and Castlemorton Common, was an issue for 12 per cent of the consultees.

Other issues included the poor condition of footpaths, protection of Malvern water, improving the grazing scheme and the proposal for a cable car.

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