UFO spotters, horse riders and dog walkers plan to stage a protest at Cradle Hill near Warminster after access to the area was restricted by the Ministry of Defence.

Civilian vehicles can no longer access the area from Cradle Hill to Parsonage Field Barn after reports of dog fouling, abuse of troops and attacks on other animals.

The hill, which is a mile north east of the town centre and on the edge of Salisbury Plain, became famous in the 1960s and 70s for UFOs and crop circles.

A Ministry of Defence Estates spokesman said: “We have received a number of complaints about dog walkers failing to control dogs in the area. These include very significant dog fouling, abuse of troops, attacks on sheep, deer and horse riders.

“We have, therefore, decided to protect the safety of other people using this area by stopping civilian vehicle access to the road from Cradle Hill to Parsonage Field barn.

“Pedestrians, cyclists, riders and drivers of horse drawn vehicles still have unrestricted access.”

But UFO spotter and author Kevin Goodman said: “We are hoping to hold a peaceful protest in January to let the Army know we’re here and we have a right to use the land.”

Sylvia Sullivan-Tailyour, who is a member of the British Horse Society, said: “The elderly and disabled won’t be able to drive up there now. There is a lot of irresponsible behaviour by a minority.”