IT is an end of an era for a town's weather station as reports will soon be fully automated.

Ross-on-Wye Weather Station, just off Walford Road, has a long and historical record and is part of the Met Office's Central England temperature record.

Currently the reports are partially automated but by the end of the month regular observations at the site will be fully automated.

A group of voluntary observers had been carrying out reports but will soon be disbanded.

The site is owned by Ross-on-Wye Town Council following an asset transfer from Herefordshire Council.

Clerk to the council, Sarah Robson, said: "Since the asset transfer of this site took place a little while ago negotiations have been ongoing to draft a lease between the town council and Met Office to allow for continued monitoring there."

She said the Met Office does not want to lose the local connection with the council and observers.

Weather observations were first started at Ross in 1859 by a local draper and former vice-president of the Royal Meteorological Society, Henry Southall.

He handed over to church organist, Frederick Parsons who only retired at 84-years-old in 1974.

This left the town without a weatherman and it closed in 1975.

But following a Mayoral Project by Arthur Clarke who was the Mayor of Ross from 1984 to 1985, the station was re-opened in May 1985 and attended by TV weatherman Ian McCaskill.

The readings were originally taken by Howard Ellis, a retired chemist, and he was assisted by husband and wife team, June and Rex Swallow.

June then took over the monitoring station in 1995 until she retired in the summer of 2008 after taking the readings for 23 years.

Some of the meteorological instruments will need to be removed as a health and safety requirement due to the mercury thermometers.

Stuart Herridge, Met Office regional network manager for the Ross area and who has direct contact with observers, has arranged for weather map certificates and books to be given to the observers as a gesture of thanks for their steadfast efforts over the years.

The town's mayor, Nigel Gibbs, is also planning on inviting the observers to the council chamber for a small informal gathering as a sign of appreciation and in recognition of their voluntary commitment.