PEOPLE living close to a wooded area on the edge of Devizes feared nesting birds had been disturbed when a Wiltshire Council funded project to cut down trees got underway without warning.

They took to social media to claim some of the trees at Broadleas Wood had nests in them and called for the work to stop. But a spokesman for Wiltshire Council said nests had not been put in danger.

A spokesman said: "The aim of the Broadleas Wood project is to enhance public access and wildlife habitats within the woodland. To achieve this, some trees are being removed by an Arboricultural Association approved contractor, which assured us no trees with active nests or nesting birds have been disturbed.

"Many local residents have been directly involved in a voluntary capacity to help enhance the woodland, and we have received no direct contact from any residents with specific issues.”

Work on the wood was funded by Devizes Area Board and Grist Enviornmental with each paying £2,670 towards the work.

When plans were announced last year the area board said the idea was to make the wood a better space for local people to use. Once work is complete it is expected to be used by scouts, guides, Forest School groups and the general public.

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust was involved with volunteers during the first stage of clearing out rubbish and cutting back undergrowth.

A Wiltshire Council spokesman said at the time when a work party was in action: "The overall work programme for the woodland includes eventually reducing the amount of holly in the wood by approximately 35 per cent as it was beginning to take over the site.

"It really makes a difference to the South End of the site – the footpaths are much more open and there is much more light coming through the canopy, making it a much more attractive place for people to spend time.

"Once the thinning is completed, the plan is to embark on a programme of planting to reintroduce some species that have been unable to thrive until this work has been carried out."