CAMPAIGNERS met this week to reform a historic protection society to block moves to return a common into heathland.

The group of residents from Littleworth Common held a meeting on Tuesday to reconstitute the Littleworth Common Preservation Society.

They are opposed to a mass felling of trees on Littleworth Common, near Burnham Beeches, by South Bucks District Council.

Mr Ian Hill, a resident and campaign officer for the group, said: "It was a good meeting with about 26 people there and when you consider there's only about 90 adult residents that's pretty strong."

Mr Hill added: "All of the evidence points to wanton and indiscriminate felling. This has opened up the common to unwarranted access and the inevitable associated environmental damage."

"In the meantime, there is no support for the current plan from either the common's residents or its users."

The group was originally formed in 1961 but records show it was only in existence for 2 years.

It has collected 750 signatures on a petition since the group reformed and aims to try to persuade the council to stop cutting down the trees while they get an ecological survey carried out.

Last week the Bucks Free Press reported the fears of Rob Hancox, publican of The Jolly Woodman, in Littleworth Common, who was concerned about what affect the controversial plan would have on the environment for animals and walkers.

South Bucks District Council spokesman Kate Murray said the council aimed to restore the land back to what it was 60 years ago, before grazing ceased on the common.

She said: "Heathland is a rare and declining habitat which supports a unique flora and fauna.

"The UK has 20 per cent of the remaining heathland in the world; as such, sites like Littleworth Common are very important."

Mrs Murray added that since the restoration work began in 2001, the rare Starfruit re-appeared four years ago, after an absence of 33 years.