Speaking excusively to Shooting Times magazine, the trust’s director of conservation, Peter Nixon, said that the events at Wallington were not part of a nationwide anti-shooting policy and that it would be “unfair” to brand the trust as anti-shooting.

Mr Nixon said: “Our overall policy on shooting has not changed — we understand the importance of countryside traditions and we allow fi eldsports to take place on our properties where they are traditionally practised providing they are compatible with our purposes — public access and nature conservation.”

Concerns about the trust were also raised by shooters after the release of a document entitled National Trust Launches Drive to get Britain Outdoors.

Despite promising to promote a range of activites that take place on Trust land, the document failed to mention shooting or any other country sport.

But Mr Nixon pointed to more than 70 leases or licences for shooting held on trust land as evidence of a commitment to the sport: “We still grant a lot of licences and leases. There is no national instruction or policy to say not to renew shooting licences.”

“I hope we have good relations with our sporting tenants and licensees — there is absolutely no agenda to work in any other direction. The whole challenge of good estate management is to accommodate a variety of different uses. Land in England, in particular, is under a lot of pressure for many different purposes, and recreation, of which shooting is one form, is an important part of that.”