ANCIENT trees have proved a stumbling block in a Herefordshire business's bid to expand wild camping in woodland.

Rhys Evans, of Nash Court, a 10-minute drive from the border town, applied to Herefordshire Council for planning permission to change the use of land near Presteigne to establish a wild camping business and all associated works.

Consultants working on the scheme said there is an existing, established, wild camping business which operates at the site under permitted development.


Access for the 4x4 vehciles used for wild camping would be an existing track off an unclassfied road to the north which links the B4355 and B4262.

"4x4 wild camping is a fast-growing holiday accomodation option in the UK and has proved an incredibly popular tourism option at this location," a design and access statement submitted with the application in May 2022 said.

There are also several access roads at the site due to foresty operations, but the Woodland Trust objected to the bid, highlighting four concerns over the ancient woodlands of Rodd and Wychmoor.

It said it was concerned about the compaction of ancient woodland soils and the root systems of ancient woodland trees vehicles using the site for wild camping.

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It also highlighted the "intensification of the recreational activity of humans" disturbing breeding birds, damaging vegetation, trampling the area, littering, and fire damage, as well as noise and light pollution likely having a "significant impact on sensitive fauna".

Ther trust also said it was concerned about harmful pollutants and contaminants being left in the woodland, such as from sewage.


But council planners have rejected the scheme because it conflicts with the development plan and National Planning Policy Framework.

With the absence of an ecological survey, planning officer Amber Morris said there was no certainty over effects on protected species and local biodiversity, and the scheme has also been identified as having an adverse impact upon the integrity of the river Lugg and River Wye Special Areas of Conservation through there being no scientific and legal certainty of how foul/dirty water will be managed and where this be disposed of.

Ms Morris noted the positive effects of tourism, however.