I’M A Celebrity bosses have ringed the castle with steel fences, closed off footpaths and even a local golf course to keep out prying eyes – and locals aren’t happy.
The ancient Welsh pile – which will be home to the ITV series for the second year running – is ringed and criss-crossed with trails used by ramblers and dog walkers.
Despite the fact that most are unofficial routes, estate chiefs have allowed locals to use them for years.
Yet now The Sun Online can exclusively reveal I'm A Celebrity bosses are said to have erected large metal panel fences eight feet high around the perimeter of the North Wales castle.
Earlier this year, local people took the issue before council chiefs over whether they had the right to ramble across the estate.
Councillor Delyth MacRae said for many years members of the public have enjoyed free access to the woods without direction or redress.
“Prior to the castle being built, there was an undesignated path from Llanddulas to Abergele and we are talking a long time ago,” she said.
“That was for access to the mines and it was quicker to go down there and go to the market/go shopping.
“Members of the public are feeling, rightly or wrongly, they are feeling very aggrieved their enjoyment of the land has been taken away due to recent changes of ownership as well as liability and security issues.”
One local added: “I’ve walked these paths for years and now a TV show is spoiling things.”
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A spokesperson from Gwrych Castle told a local newspaper said: “We opened the gardens to the public in 2014 and then the castle itself in 2018. Prior to this the entire estate was closed to the public so we enabled access around the restored sections of the castle. We want to have regulated public access given that the castle and grounds are under restoration.
“The entire estate includes Manorafan Farm, Abergele Golf Club and the surrounding farmland, including the woodland which is leased to NRW and have been since 1951.
“We will continue to engage with interested parties.”
“I’ve walked these paths for years and now a TV show is spoiling things.”
The Abergele Golf Club is keen to plug the “magnificent backdrop of Gwrych Castle and stunning coastal views” when attracting visitors to take its manicured greens.
But now “pay and play” £40-a-round golfers have been given the boot for a month and only members can tee-off while show hosts Ant and Dec are around.
The club is working in conjunction with ITV and telly bosses will compensate the sporting body for lost venue.
The £730-a-year North Wales club, which has an 18-hole course, confirmed that it would have limited access next month.
The Abergele course said that it will “temporarily close” to visitors from November 10 until December 13”.
A statement said: “As we are neighbours to Gwyrch Castle, where I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! will be based for a second year, our course will be closed to non-members from Wednesday 10th November until Monday 13th December 2021.
“Members will still be able to play as normal during this period, exactly like last year.
“The Clubhouse Bistro will still be open to serve their tasty menu during this period.
“We are very excited to be a part of the production again this year and look forward to watching it later on this month.
“We are sorry for any inconvenience caused and look forward to welcoming our guests again from Monday 13th December!”
A source revealed: “The club just wants to control who comes on to the course and the only way of doing that while I’m A Celeb is in town is to ban non-members.
“ITV has agreed to pay the club for cash lost from non-members not being allowed to play over the next month or so.”
The Sun Online has gone to ITV for comment.
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