A rural Moray community is at loggerheads with a local landowner they claim is breaking the law by blocking public routes.
Residents who live around Rhynagoup woods, near Dallas, say that since Gary Wall bought land there two years ago he has closed off popular areas to expand his residence.
Now Mr Wall has applied to fell more woodland to create a bothy by his home – prompting fears it will cause further restrictions for walkers.
Mr Wall bought the land from the Forestry Commission in 2013, to create his “dream home” upon retirement.
He maintains that locals “resent” him for acquiring the land, and that a main entrance was blocked only after steelwork and a wheelbarrow was stolen from a building site by his home.
Mr Wall said: “The latest application is for a bothy cottage to be used as a guesthouse, just behind the wood, not a nuclear power plant.
“All I want is a peaceful retirement, but some of these people just don’t want me here.
“I have asked individuals not to walk up my driveway, but I haven’t stopped them from doing it.”
Nearby residents Andy and Trudi Philip are calling for legislation to be put in place to protect rural communities affected by the sale of Forestry Commission land.
Mr Philip said: “A group of us did try to buy the woods as a community, to protect it from a development like this.
“But, due to time restrictions involved, we weren’t able to get it.
“I have lived here since the 1970s and have always enjoyed walking through Rhynagoup woods to the nearby moorland, but
Mr Wall has wired up five gates to prevent us getting through.”
Mrs Philip added: “It seems like our right to roam has been thrown out the window.
“We didn’t think this could happen, we just feel helpless.
“Right to roam laws make Scotland special, we’ve always abided by them and somebody needs to be responsible for enforcing them.”
The owner of Dallas estate, David Houldsworth, has registered an official objection to Mr Wall’s latest planning application, arguing that in denying locals access to the land he is breaking the law.
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead, who consulted with a community group looking to buy the land in 2013, vowed to assist residents embroiled in the access row.
He said he would be contacting Moray Council’s access officer to find out about the rights of the community, and would contact Forestry Commission “if needs be”.