THE Earl of Cardigan has been involved in a scuffle on the border of his property, describing the intruder as ‘monstrous’.

The bizarre confrontation took place at the 4,500 acre Savernake Forest on its annual one-day closure to traffic.

The Earl closed the forest on Tuesday January 5, as he has done for almost 50 years, and manned the barrier all day at the entrance where the Grand Avenue joins the A4 but faced an abusive individual early in the day.

“Around 9am a man drove up to my barrier of traffic cones, threw them into the bushes with me sitting, bewildered, in my car just six feet away, and then went back to his car to force his way through the gap he had just created, alleged the Earl.

“I replaced my cones before he could do so, whereupon he totally lost the plot.

“He ran up to me, purple with rage, and put his face literally one inch from mine and told me get out of his effing way and he was coming through, otherwise he was going to tear my effing head off.

“I explained that the forest was shut today and he then tried to shove me out of his way, repeatedly bumping his chest against mine, for some reason, saying he didn’t like my effing attitude. I just stood my ground.

“He then angrily repeated his threat to tear my effing head off, and said he had a right to enter the forest, even when it was shut, because a friend of his had asked him to shoot some pheasants on my property. I said that in view of his monstrous behaviour he would have to find another entrance to the forest, of which we have many, which he later did.

“He then repeatedly stamped on my traffic cones, splintering them into little pieces and threw those into the bushes, before driving away in a fury.”

The Earl said he was stunned by the incident and the worst he had endured in 49 years of manning the pathway.

To prevent the creation of public rights of way, the owners of private estates who allow the public to come in, which include Goodwood, Blenheim and Sandringham, close them to traffic one day a year.

It is to prevent the public saying they have used the route for 365 consecutive days, the first legal step towards creating a public right of way.

A Wiltshire Police spokesman said they were investigating the incident and no arrests had been made.

Savernake Forest is believed to have transferred through 31 generations and has never been sold in1,000 years, making it the only ancient forest in Britain still in private hands.