APPROXIMATELY 75 metres of trees have been chopped down in a Worcestershire village to protect a grade two listed lock.

It comes after residents in the Holt Fleet said the trees were removed from a country lane with no warning.

The road, Holt Fleet Lane, had a canopy of trees running along the countryside lane on the River Severn's bank, but these had been removed.

The Canal and River Trust revealed they had chopped down the trees to keep Grade II Listed Holt Lock working.

It said "vital" access is needed to the lock to allow restoration work, including the lock gates and repairs to the lock chamber itself.

A spokesperson for the Canal and River Trust said: "Our canals and rivers are important habitats for wildlife. 

"Cutting back vegetation or, in this instance, the felling of the ash trees on third-party land is only undertaken as part of a considered programme to keep the centuries-old manmade canal and river network operational.

"The land in question is by the Grade II Listed Holt Lock. 

"As part of keeping the waterways alive, access to the river is required to ensure that vital restoration work at the lock, including work to both the lock gates and repairs to the lock chamber itself, can be carried out later this year.

"Decisions around nature are a fundamental part of what we do, and obviously, work to fell the trees was only undertaken with the full permission of the landowner."

Rob Horton's family has lived in the Holt Fleet since 1915, and he said the trees have been there for as long as he can remember.

"Our family has lived here since 1915, and I have lived here for about 25 years, and there have always been trees by the side of the road.

"I came back from work, and they were all gone.

"It will affect the wildlife and the birds - it's an eyesore."

The work on the lock is set to be carried out later this year.