The National Trust has been criticised by a local campaign group after selling three acres of land in Devon to a housing developer, writes Ollie Buckley.

Local residents said they had offered to the buy Bonds Meadow near Bovey Tracey - originally given to the National Trust in a farmer's will.

Campaign group Save Bonds Meadow had raised nearly £20,000 towards a £50,000 target to buy the site.

However, the National Trust said it has now sold the land to the higher bidding developer because it was obliged to do so as a charity.

"We are going to fight for every single tree and every single dormouse," campaigner Sally Morgan said.

They said the "rich plot of land" has more than 700 species of flora and fauna, including bats, newts and dormice and is "a much-loved quiet corner of the town".

"We've got three acres here which has been allowed to rewild for the last 15 years," said Ms Morgan.

"There's a plethora of wildlife in there and there are mature trees.

"We've been trying to save it and buy it from the National Trust, but we found out they have accepted the money from a developer."

READ NEXT: Decision time (again) on planning for Rame Head farmer after quashed by High Court

A National Trust spokesperson said it had agreed a sale "to a local developer with whom we will work closely to ensure any plans are sympathetic to the local landscape and wildlife".

It said the land had been given to it "as part of a legacy" for the National Trust to sell to support the upkeep of the nearby Parke estate.

The Trust said as a charity it was "required to maximise the benefit of the land left to us as investment, and unfortunately a bid from the local community fell significantly short of other bids."

It said it had been "liaising with the community group for well over a year, and despite making them aware of the value of the land, unfortunately their offer fell significantly short of that figure."