Rangers at Yateley Common will meet residents to address concerns about proposed fencing and grazing of the common.

Residents, walkers and horseriders came together to give Get Hampshire a tour of the common and spell out exactly why the proposals were bad news.

Hampshire County Council (HCC) and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust are proposing 24,000 metres of fencing to enclose 1.39 square kilometres of the common to introduce grazing cattle as a management technique to encourage heather to grow.

The walk followed last week’s Yateley Common management meeting at the Tythings, where it was decided that rangers will visit homes on and near the common to explain the plans and allay fears.

Diane Dunne, who has lived in Yateley for 20 years, said one of the main reasons she moved to the area was to use the common.

She told Get Hampshire : “We have a small green outside our house called Sunnyside which, it seems, is going to be fenced off.

"As a dog walker, I think the new fencing and restrictions imposed by the plans will seriously impact on the enjoyment of walking, riding a bike or just taking your kids out in the park.

“As residents, we live on the green and we’ve had no communications up to now about the new plans. We will have fences with barbed wire literally a few feet from our front door.

"Nobody has consulted us or taken our thoughts on that. After the meeting, the warden did actually reach out to me and said we will have a chat.”

Local dog walkers and horse riders who oppose the fencing of Yateley Common

Dog walker Vic Oliver, of Cricket Hill Lane, was in favour of the plans, however. He has lived in Yateley for more than 30 years and walks his dog in the area every day and said he thinks fencing the common is the right thing to do to protect it.

There was standing room only at the Tythings meeting, as residents raised their concerns with those who manage the common, including feeling uninformed about the plans.

Emma Noyce, strategic manager for land and recreation at HCC, told those gathered: “I recognise a number of you feel like you were not aware of the consultation in 2010.

"The county council decided it would make an application to the secretary of state and that process allows the public to make comments to the planning inspectorate. It is really important to say that these fences are to keep the cows in, not the people out.

“Members of the public have a right of access to the common and that won’t change. When there aren’t animals in the enclosure, gates will be left open.”

Nicki Paton, sites manager for HCC, added: “Habitats on the common are very rare and unless we manage them effectively, they will die out.”