ANTI-HUNT protesters will converge on the National Trust’s headquarters next week.

The Rodbourne-based charity, which owns more than 600,000 acres of land, has come under fire from animal rights campaigners for its policy of allowing fox hunting at its properties.

Campaigners have entered a motion, which will be debated at the trust’s annual general meeting next month, calling on the charity to ban hunts from using its land.

Helen Beynon, one of the organisers of the motion, said: “Until January 2017 I had no idea Hunting continued after the ban. Like the vast majority of the public, I had no reason to think the spirit of the law was not being upheld.

“When I was invited to see what happens on a ‘trail hunt’, I was appalled to see how loopholes in the law were being exploited. I realised this activity was so easily used as a smokescreen to hunt and kill ‘accidentally’.”

If voted through by trust members, Helen’s motion would see “trail hunting” – where hounds follow an artificial scent – and the exercising of hunting hounds banned at National Trust properties.

Campaigners backing the motion will join the League Against Cruel Sports at a protest opposite the Retail Outlet Village outside the trust’s headquarters on Thursday.

The National Trust said that it had moved to ban the use of fox-based scents by hunt organisers, which they said was a “major contributor to the potential for accidental fox chases”.

They would also ban “terrier-men”, whose role in the past was to dig out foxes from their underground homes – called “earths”.

A spokesman for the trust said: “Our clear, robust, and transparent set of conditions – which follow a six-month review – are designed to allow participants to enjoy this activity in compatibility with our conservation aims.”