A FORMER conservation chief at Swindon-based charity the National Trust has been awarded a MBE.

Peter Nixon, who spent more than three decades at the conservation charity, called the honour a surprise and a delight.

“It is principally a reflection of the work the National Trust, through which I have done so much of my conservation work,” said Mr Nixon, who retired from the Trust in 2017 as director of conservation.

“I think it is also a recognition of the work the National Trust does to connect people with nature, land and beautiful places. If I had a part to play in that, then I have been enormously lucky and privileged.”

With a background in rural surveying, Mr Nixon joined the Trust in the 1980s as a land agent based at Attingham Park, a large country house and estate near Shrewsbury.

He was appointed chief agent in 1997, then director of conservation in 2001. He described the role as "the best job in the world".

Mr Nixon, who lives in Gloucestershire and has two daughters, was now volunteering for various charities, government agencies and Hartpury Adams University, where he is a governor.

Also recognised in the New Year's Honours was Stephen Trow, who was made OBE for services to heritage. Formerly head of research at Swindon-based quango Historic England, he is also an advisory board member for the National Trust.