A COMMUNITY in rural Herefordshire has said it feels "blessed and very fortunate" after being gifted common land.

Villagers in Ewyas Harold, nestled in the Golden Valley near the Welsh border, said the generous John Rogers, Lord of the Manor of Ewyas Harold for more than 60 years, has let the common trust take over ownership of the land.

Under his stewardship the common at Ewyas Harold has become more popular with local walkers and has maintained wildlife, the group said.

In his usual community spirit, Mr Rogers made the decision to give the common to the local community and Ewyas Harold Common Trust took over the ownership just before lockdown in February 2020.

Trustee Sue Young said: "Members of the local community suggested we install a bench at one of Mr Rogers’ favourite viewpoints from the Common in appreciation of this amazingly generous gift.

"We decided to mark the occasion in the modest way that is possible during the current restrictions and plan a proper village celebration when we can meet in larger numbers again”.

Barbara Lloyd, of Cwm Hill Farm, said her family has known John ever since he bought the Common at auction in the 1960s.

She added: “John did everything he could over the years to support us farming next to the common and as commoners."

"This neighbourhood is blessed and very fortunate to inherit such an amenity”.

Trustee Lloyd Reed made an oak bench which was unveiled earlier this month.

He said: “As a resident, trustee and someone who enjoys the freedom of walking the common it was a privilege to make the oak bench as a show of appreciation from the whole community in recognition for Mr Rogers' generous gift."

John Rogers was represented on the day by members of his family/

Helen Shimwell, his niece, read out a message which ended: “I have been privileged to hold responsibility for ownership of the common over these years and appreciate many friendships that have developed.

"I feel that it is an appropriate time to transfer the ownership and have every confidence that under the guidance of the Trust and Community of Ewyas Harold the Common will be in good hands and will continue to thrive and develop."