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Stag hunt ban costs trust dear

THE NATIONAL Trust's ban on staghunting on its land has cost it the ownership of one of Britain's finest collections of books on country houses.

The £500,000 collection of more than 2,000 books, which belonged to the late country sports enthusiast David Clegg, will be auctioned rather than left to the Trust, which owns many of Britain's stately homes.

Mr Clegg, who ran a bookshop in Buckingham, spent many years building up the collection and had always intended that this unique source of reference should be left to the Trust.

But he was so angered by the Trust's controversial ban on staghunting on its land, which was imposed in 1997, that he changed his will. Now, following his death, the collection is to be auctioned at Dreweatt Neate in Newbury, Berks on Nov 5.

"His original intention was that the library should be a reference source on English country houses," said Clive Stewart-Lockhart, a senior specialist at Dreweatt Neate.

"I think he saw the ban on staghunting as the beginning of a wider move against country sports. He felt that it was a betrayal and meddling in country affairs."