RESIDENTS of a village near Ledbury might be forgiven for saying, “what a load of rubbish!”

Wellington Heath might be about to get its infamous “Best Kept Village” sign returned, after a much-needed revamp; but the verges in and around the village are looking anything but their best, because of a litter problem.

Wellington Heath correspondent, Peter Constantine said: “Many years ago, a village resident, the late Peter Garnett led the ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ Group of litter pickers every weekend, as they kept our lanes clear of rubbish.

“Organised litter picking has been intermittent since then; but recently Mark Beaumont and Peter Brown have made a renewed attack on rubbish and were shocked to collect four large bags of rubbish on one walk, mainly cans and bottles, sweet wrappers and crisp packets.

“But some of the more unusual items included a

golf ball and a pair of Calvin Klein boxer shorts! Unfortunately they also encountered several plastic bags of dog deposits; this despite there now being two dog waste bins in the village. As we

stroll around our country lanes it is disappointing to be able to find rubbish growing alongside early blossom and spring flowers.”

Meanwhile, the village’s so-called ‘drunken’ sign is set to make a comeback.

For many years, the welcoming sign on the Ledbury Road, near a turn for Raycombe Lane, has been living on past glories.

It celebrates distant success in the Herefordshire Best Kept Village competition ,between 1988 and 2002.

This was a competition previously run by the Campaign to Protect Rural England, but the sign was said to be “leaning drunkenly, with peeling paint”, hence the recent restoration.

But could the sign’s return lead to a boost in village pride?

Mr Constantine, who compiles an online weekly round up for the village, said: “Shortly the Best Kept Village sign will be re-erected. Let us hope that it will celebrate a village worthy of the accolade.”

But there is hope.

Mr Constantine added: “Many villagers act as occasional volunteer litter pickers, and Withers Farm is promising to increase its litter picking and worker education. Thanks to all who help keep our village a green and pleasant land.”