THE Malvern Hills Trust says it is not trying to ban trail hunting from its land, despite claims by the League Against Cruel Sports.

The league says that new guidelines on hunting, recently revised by the body which looks after the hills and commons, amounts to an "effective ban" on the sport.

Jordi Casamitjana of the League Against Cruel Sports said: “It is refreshing to see that the trust understands that trail hunting is often a sham.

“These new guidelines could effectively have the same effect as a ban on trail hunting in the Malvern Hills as hunts will no longer be able to claim ignorance if they kill an animal, meaning they may decide not to use that land anymore."

But a trust spokesman said that the policy is largely the same as the old policy, having merely been rewritten to make it clearer.

The spokesmen said: "The trust is not seeking, through its hunting policy, to effectively ban trail hunting from its land.The revised policy now provides clarification for hunt organisers on what is permitted on land under the jurisdiction of the Malvern Hills Trust.

"As is the case with policies relating to other types of event and activities, such as sponsored walks, orienteering events and sporting club activities, these documents provide guidelines to ensure there are no breaches of our bye-laws, that the landscape and habitats are protected, and visitors can enjoy the hills and commons.

"Any trail hunting activity which takes place in line with our policy is just another one of the many ways in which people enjoy and experience this shared landscape."