A pensioner in Bratton says she is devastated by the ‘massacre’ of a hedgerow on the road to West Ashton.

Suzanne Brown, 75, who has lived in Bratton for the past three years, was shocked after seeing what had happened to a half mile stretch of hedgerow on the Bratton Road from Edington and Bratton to West Ashton.

Mrs Brown, of Carpenters Lane, said: “It is a tremendous abomination. It’s just a massacre. The tree branches have been broken and cut to pieces. It’s just atrocious for the wildlife.

“Whoever has done it has just completely destroyed the trees and shrubs along a long stretch of the road from Edington and Bratton all the way through to West Ashton.”

Mrs Brown, said: “I have spoken to my local Wiltshire Council ward member Suzanne Wickham and she asked the council if it was them.

“The council are adamant it was not them; however local farmers would have far more respect for the hedgerows and trees than the perpetrator had. It is an utter disgrace the way it has been carried out - a true massacre!

“You can see what local farmers have done, they have more respect for the wildlife and their hedgerows are all neatly trimmed. The difference is phenomenal.

“In addition, this would be a very long stretch indeed for a farmer and when compared to the neat and tidy cutting of hedges along farmland, there is no comparison.

“Whoever has done this has absolutely no idea or interest in preserving the countryside.”

The owner of Grange Farm, Krystyna Baker, whose family farms 200 beef cattle, said: "I ordered the hedgerow to be cut back well. We are an organic farm and it had not been done for several years.

"As an organic farm, only one side of the hedgerow can be cut in any one year and the other side left to provide wildlife cover.

"I thought the contractor did a good job. He sent up two crews to clear the debris from the road.

"I appreciate that it does not look good at the moment but it will look a lot better in the summer."

Mrs Baker said some drivers had complained that branches were overhanging the carriageway and scratching the side of their vehicles.

She said she is obliged by law to keep the hedgerow trimmed and stop branches protruding onto the road.

By law, the work must be done between September 1 and February 28 to avoid disturbing wildlife, particularly birds nesting.

The work was carried out by local contractor Chris Awdry, from Yarnbrook Road, Trowbridge, who said: "I was asked to cut it back well, so that's what I did.

"The family have left the hedgerow to grow for many years and the council will take them to court if they don't keep it tidy."

Cllr Wickham, who represents the Ethandune ward, said: " I sympathise with how Mrs Brown feels, as this type of severe cutting takes time to regrow and could reduce any food available for birds such as hips and berries. 

"However when a landowner decides to cut or flail hedges, this is the correct time of year as it has less of an impact on wildlife than during the spring or summer.  I can confirm that this work was not carried out by Wiltshire Council.”