CONTROVERSIAL TV naturalist Chris Packham has been branded “obsessive” after praising proposals to ban trail hunting on National Trust land across the UK.

Hunt supporters have accused the Hampshire-based broadcaster of “jumping on the animal rights bandwagon” after he backed calls to prevent packs from using the charity’s estates.

Trail hunting was introduced by the New Forest Hounds (NFH) and other groups after hunting with dogs was banned more than 10 years ago.

The practice, which is legal, involves hounds chasing a fox-based scent – usually founded on fox urine - instead of a fox and has proved hugely popular.

But supporters of the proposed ban, including the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS), claim foxes are still being killed in parts of Britain because some hunts are breaking the law.

Mr Packham, 56, said: “Does the National Trust want to be aligned with, or complicit in, illegal activities on its properties?

“Or does it take this opportunity to modernise, refute an obsolete and outdated ‘tradition’ and regain its position as a respected manager of our landscape?”

However, Tim Bonner, chief executive of the pro-hunt Countryside Alliance, hit back at the famously outspoken presenter.

He said: “Chris Packham is completely incapable of passing an animal rights bandwagon without jumping on it. It’s a shame his increasing obsession with activism has clouded any reason or partiality.”

The National Trust owns several commons in the northern half of the Forest but most trail hunting takes place on land owned by the Forestry Commission.