A 'much loved' bluebell wood has been razed to the ground to make way for a caravan site in what angry local residents have described as "shocking destruction".
The woods, which were covered in a carpet of bluebells and were where many families scattered the ashes of their loved ones, were ploughed up by diggers without planning permission to allow for extra pitches on a caravan park.
Environment bosses launched an investigation after furious locals raised the alarm following the destruction in the woods near Llanbradach, Caerphilly, South Wales.
A council investigation found that the landowner was planning to develop space for five touring caravans - but had not submitted planning permission.
Councillor Beci Newton, of Plaid Cymru, told MailOnline that families had visited the site for generations for quiet walks, family picnics and more.
"Some find this spot so special that the ashes of deceased family members have been scattered there," said said.
"It's just heartbreaking to see such an area of outstanding natural beauty go. It's greed essentially."
Sean Morgan, leader at Caerphilly council, said work had been halted at the site.
He said: "Following discussions with the contractor it appears that he had been employed by the landowner to level an area of land to accommodate five touring caravans as a Caravan Club Licensed Site.
"Works ceased on the site on Monday morning following officers’ intervention."
The landowner is due to submit a back-dated planning application, he said.
He added that the council is considering efforts to reinstate the land and that environment agency officials had been informed.
"I also understand that Natural Resources Wales have been notified regarding potential damage to flora and fauna protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act," he added.
In a letter to Wales' environment agency Natural Resources Wales, Cllr Colin Mann said: "The area is one where traditionally a very large number of native bluebells have grown and these are very much appreciated by residents in the vicinity.
"I believe that these plants are a protected species.
"Could you investigate this issue as a matter of urgency with a view to preventing any further destruction of this valuable flora?
"This area is much loved by many in the village and it is really sad to see the shocking destruction."