Wales

Bluebell wood eyed by baronet for pheasant shooting

A hunter carrying a pheasant Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Agents for Sir Philip Naylor-Leyland say the land being offered is safer and more accessible

A bluebell wood used as a village green for decades to set to be taken over by a baronet for pheasant shoots.

The land in Llanelidan, Denbighshire, has been classed as a village green since Victorian times.

With ownership unclear, the community council plans to exchange it for a plot offered by the Nantclwyd Estate.

Agents for estate owner Sir Philip Naylor-Leyland say it is safer and more accessible than the wood, but local residents say they will fight the move.

The three-acre (1.2-hectare) area of land has been registered as belonging to Sir Philip, although Llanelidan Community Council said it was unclear who actually owned the land.

However, the council added it could not afford the legal fees it would have to pay to fight the move.

A consultation has been opened on the future of the land, although some local residents told the Local Democracy Reporting Service they oppose the swap.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sir Philip Naylor-Leyland (R) pictured with son Tom at an event in London in 2014

One of them, Rhian Davey, said: "It is a spectacular bluebell wood for our children and grandchildren to be able to play in, unhindered, and say, 'this is ours'.

"This would be a legacy that Llanelidan should be proud of."

Mrs Davey has referred the community council to the Public Services Ombudsman over the way it has handled the issue, calling for the ownership of the land to be returned to the community.

William Shuttleworth, an agent for the Nantclwyd Estate, said: "The current village green is sited over three-quarters of a mile from the village with poor access along narrow country lanes.

"It is a wooded area so cannot be used for playing games and is unsuitable and unsafe for use by children.

"The estate has offered an alternative site close to the village centre which can be easily accessed and can be safely used as a recreation area by residents and children."

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