A couple have been threatened with legal action if they continue to prevent access to a wood in a Herefordshire town.

Ledbury councillor Liz Harvey posted on a local Facebook group a response she had received from Forestry England regarding Frith Wood, immediately north-east of the town.

“Having received legal advice, it is Forestry England’s position that Mr Wilkinson and Ms Gorton are not within their rights to withdraw permission for the public to walk over the track at Frith Wood House to access Frith Wood,” the agency said.

It claimed the public have been entitled to use this access to Frith Wood “since Frith Wood House was sold by the Forestry Commission in 1974”, as stated in deeds with the sale.

And it warned: “Any further obstruction by the owner of Frith Wood House will result in immediate court action being taken to prevent such obstruction.”

This “is shortly to be communicated to Mr Wilkinson’s solicitors”, the letter added.

But it asked users of the wood “to be respectful of the owner of Frith Wood House”.


Posting a photograph of the entrance to the property, Coun Harvey wrote: “Presently, signs discouraging use of the access through the garden of Frith Wood House are being displayed.

“However, it is my understanding that the position remains as stated by Forestry England.”

She added that she had recently received more than 70 emails and phone calls over the issue.

Pam Wildig of Ledbury posted in response: “I feel sorry for those people in the house to be honest! I'd hate having people wandering through my garden. After all, there are two more alternatives of getting through.”

But Carolyn Jenkins said: “People of Ledbury have always walked through without any problems at all until the new owners moved in.”