Wealthy landowner Henry Pelly was ordered to re-open a footpath by his £1.25 million mansion after locals won a planning appeal case brought against him.

Mr Pelly, whose family have links with Prince Harry, caused uproar two years ago when he shut the footpath after buying Luccombe Mill in Bratton.

Henry – cousin of Prince Harry’s best friend Guy – stopped walkers using the footpath, which they claimed they had ‘for 100 years’.

Now, a planning inspector has told Mr Pelly it is a public footpath and must be re-opened.

Local Katherine Beaumont, 72, who led the ‘battle’ said ‘they wanted to walk along it again as soon as possible’.

“It was a bit of a David V Goliath battle but we won the day. But it was more a question of what was right rather than trying to win. I was thinking of future generations versus one owner who is there only at weekends most of the time.”

She claimed villagers were ‘painted as being senile or imbeciles with poor memories’ after claiming the footpath had been open for up to 100 years. The council said it was satisfied it had been a footpath for more than 20 years.

A three-day public inquiry, ordered by Environment Secretary Michael Gove, a planning inspector ruled it was a public footpath and must be re-opened.

Wiltshire Council said: ”We are pleased the inspector has agreed with our original decision and for those who have campaigned for it to remain open. We will now work with affected landowners to make the path available to the public again.”

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