NURSERY children have been left devastated after their outdoor nature classes were stopped due to a row over the site.

Staff at Kiddiwinks Day Care in Worsthorne have been taking two groups of under five’s to Hurstwood Reservoir to explore small sections of the woodland for bugs and insects.

The nursery was the first to sign up to the Government's new Forest Schools programme three months ago.

The scheme aims to encourage children to find out more about nature and wildlife.

But bosses from land owners United Utilities have told the nursery it must pay £5 per child and apply for a permit to continue using the site.

It said three complaints had been received about an area of land being roped off.

Karen Hutchinson, leader of the Forrest School programme at Kiddiwinks, said: “We have been running the programme since March and it has proved a massive hit with both children and parents.

“A ranger told us we had to start paying £5 per child and get a permit but we just can’t afford that, as we provide the programme free of charge.

“So for the time being we have had to cancel the sessions.”

Ian Whalley, 73, of Burnley Road, Cliviger, said his grandson had been left in tears since hearing the news.

He said: “I thinks its appalling. The lessons are educational and are helping the children to learn at a young age about the importance of nature.

"My grandson came home in floods of tears. That's not fair as they cause no bother.”

Nursery bosses are now appealing for other land owners to give them permission to explore their land.

A spokesman for United Utilities said: “One of our rangers is helping the owner of a privately owned nursery to obtain the correct legal safety permits to access UU land for the purpose of the Forest Schools initiative.

“The owners are aware of the need for a permit for the last four weeks and our land agent is in the process of arranging one for them as quickly as possible.”