A TELEVISION presenter told radio listeners that she saw a "big cat" while walking along the Wye Valley near Ross-on-Wye.

Clare Balding said that she spotted "the most enormous black cat" while hosting her BBC Radio 4 series The Ramblings at the Doward earlier this month.

"Gosh. We’ve walked out on to the road and turned left and sitting in the middle of the road ahead of us was the most enormous black cat," she said.

"Honestly, I thought it was a panther.

"I mean it was really big, like a dog size.

"I saw it really clearly and it went into the woods and disappeared.

"It just sloped, it didn't scuttle, and just walked across the road and disappeared into the woods."

Ms Balding was walking alongside Nadia and Roger Smith at the time of the sighting.

Mr Smith, a village footpath officer, said that he has seen the animal twice in the hedgerow over the last few years, but does not know if it is a wildcat.

"I have seen black cats here the size of my rottweiler and our friends have seen a big black cat feeding on deer carcas," said Mr Smith.

"There have always been stories of a big black cat on the Doward ever since we moved here 20 odd years ago and a number of our friends have seen it.

"Whether it is the same one over 20 years, I really don't know."

Ms Balding said that she was unaware of stories of a black cat being spotted in the region.

"When I saw it, I was trying to describe it," she said.

"I promise I'm not making it up, but it looked very big to me.

"I'm all excited now, the adrenaline is flowing."

A big cat was blamed for causing injuries to a horse in Upton Bishop in 2010.

Rachel Baugh noticed a deep wound and scratch marks to her bay horse and was told by an expert the injuries could have been caused by a big cat.

Trail marks were also spotted near the stables in Upton Bishop.”

The previous year, a number of sheep killings near Newtown Crossroads were also linked to a big cat attack.