Leisure activities such as paintballing and motor sports are damaging ancient woodland, according to the Woodland Trust.

The charity is campaigning for a loophole in the law to be closed that allows land to be used for up to 28 days a year for these activities. Only 15 per cent of woodland is protected by being designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, protecting it from use such as off-road rallying or war games.

Ed Pomfret, public affairs officer at the Woodland Trust, said: "While running about in a wood is not damaging in itself, building fortifications from oil drums and setting off fireworks and explosives is quite another matter."

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