Winter welly walkers trudged through the snow to defend a green space near Chippenham threatened by development.

Nearly 40 people ranging in age from eight to 82 turned out on Sunday morning to support an application for village green status for the area around Birds’ Marsh woods.

David Rowlands, of Eastern Avenue, Chippenham, said: “It was a more difficult walk than usual in the snow.

“It goes to show the strength of feeling locally about retaining this lovely place for the people of Chippenham and for generations to come.”

Pete Humphrey, Friends of Birds’ Marsh chairman, said: “The woods were like a proper winter wonderland.”

The campaign group wants to halt a development of 750 houses around Birds’ Marsh planned by the North Chippenham Consortium.

Friends of Birds’ Marsh submitted a bid to Wiltshire Council in September to designate the area as a village green.

But Chippenham Town Council’s official position, decided in November and reiterated at its meeting last Wednesday, is not to support the application.

It would be contrary to the town’s core strategy, which has yet to be approved.

Mr Humphrey said: “The reason we have made this application is to try and protect the delicate ecosystems that these fields provide that allow the wood to flourish.

“Residents should understand that they still can save their woods by lobbying the town and unitary councils and leave them in no doubt that there is no way this town will accept the destruction of a much loved and cherished local free amenity.”