IT’S a long way from Wimbledon Common to West Herefordshire, but certain characters renowned for their august efforts to deal with litter louts have now arrived in the county.

‘Keep Lyonshall Lovely’ is the spirited cry from the village’s answer to the south-west London ‘Wombles’, environmental warriors to a man – and woman – who are popping up all over the parish to urge against the irksome practice of dumping rubbish.

Thus Tobermory, Orinoco, Madame Cholet et al are appearing on slate plaques on roadsides around Lyonshall with the message they introduced to young readers and viewers way back in 1968 thanks to author Elisabeth Beresford who imagined the furry litter-picking and recycling brigade living in burrows beneath Wimbledon Common.

Their plea to all now goes out in Lyonshall where teacher and artist Suzanne Hughes has been busy producing a whole series of Wombling notices with the fervent message not to leave litter but to keep the area ‘lovely’.

Says Suzanne, who is Lyonshall Memorial Hall committee secretary: “Who knows whether it’ll work, but at least it cheers the place up!”

In fact her incentive has been lauded by locals and she is receiving a flurry of requests for more Womble-inspired signs to be placed along lanes and lay-bys to deter litter.