SOME local residents have expressed concern about the recent forestry operations which have been taking place in the High Wood/Cowleigh Park woods below the village playing fields, a popular walking area crossed by the Worcestershire Way.

They need have no fears - the woods are not being cleared and work is already practically complete.

What is happening, says Peter Hughes, agent for the Madresfield Estate, is a belated thinning of the oak plantation which is already almost 100 years old.

This is part of a 10-year Forestry Commission-approved scheme for the management of all the Estate's woodlands.

Smaller trees and scrub have been cleared around the specimen oaks to allow the trunks to thicken out to make fine timber trees in another 50 or 100 years' time.

And the 1.12 hectares which have been clear-felled will be allowed to regenerate naturally using seed from the adjacent oaks, or if this fails will be replanted with English oak.

The long-term aim is to create a succession of ages, avoiding the need to clear the whole area at some future date when all the trees from the original planting would mature at once.

The inevitable scars from this work by contractors for the Madresfield Estate will soon heal.

And in the short term, a possible consequence of the opening out of the woodland will be an increase in wild flowers on the forest floor - with bluebells, of which there are many in the area, likely to be main beneficiaries, perhaps as early as this spring.

And the flowers, together with increased sunlight penetrating the canopy are likely to attract more insect life, including butterflies.

Congratulations to the two West Malvernians who took part in last Sunday's exhilarating Forum concert by the Chandos Symphony Orchestra.

They are double bass leader David Etheridge of West Malvern Road and violinist Steven Luttrell of Ebrington Road.

The 100-strong orchestra of amateur (though you wouldn't know it!) musicians from all over the Midlands and gives three concerts a year in Malvern.

David, long a Chandos stalwart, also writes the racy programme notes, which started off with 'Welcome to another Chandos bash' and cheerfully rubbished contemporary music critics' dismissal of Rachmaninov with "Happily, audiences weren't taken in by the critics' nonsense and have always adored Rachmaninov...."!

Apologies for putting in a wrong number for Richard Hammond last week - my fault, not the Malvern Gazette/ Ledbury Reporter's. The correct number is 893951 - and the good news is there is still a chance to take part in the big quiz at the Legion on Saturday March 24.

Actually there's no need to ring Richard to book a table - just turn up for 8pm with a team of up to six people!