IT IS the last surviving relic of an “iconic” village cricket ground with links to the legendary W G Grace.

But the small wooden pavilion at Swan Green, Lyndhurst, has finally been bowled out after serving the local community for almost 70 years.

Civic chiefs have approved an application to demolish the building and convert the site into grazing land.

Surrounded by thatched cottages and ancient woodland, the cricket ground’s rustic features have appeared on countless calenders and a plethora of postcards.

The Forestry Commission-owned land - once a major timber yard - was first used for cricket in the early 1880s.

Lord Londesborough, a Tory MP and cricketing friend of W G Grace, started a club for his family and their school friends.

The club’s demise began in 2005, when the Hampshire League blocked its promotion from Regional Division Two after the ground’s quirks were deemed too dangerous for a higher level of cricket.

Now a Forestry Commission application to demolish the boarded-up pavilion has been approved by the New Forest National Park Authority (NPA).

A report by NPA planning officers said the building was too small to be used for another purpose.

It also cited the benefit of replacing the pavilion with grazing land and thus reducing the pressures caused by recreational use of the site.

A Forestry Commission spokesman said the building was likely to be demolished in the autumn.

He added: “Prior to starting the work further surveys will be undertaken to assess for the presence of bats and the old building will be removed outside of the season for ground-nesting birds.”

“We’ll do our best to minimise any disruption during the work so that residents and visitors can continue to enjoy the Forest.”

Dubbed the Forest’s most iconic cricket ground, it was used between 1883 and 2014, when Swan Green Cricket Club folded in its 130th year.

Club stalwart Dan Murray, from Lyndhurst, first played for Swan Green with his dad as a nine year-old back in 1983.

Speaking four years ago he said: “It was emotionally devastating when the decision was made to close the club.”

Hampshire League vice-chairman Tony Brown added: “It’s always a great shame when a cricket club packs up but there was no way the game could be played at a higher level at Swan Green.

“The square was absolutely fantastic but we have rules and regulations and the rest of the ground was far too dangerous.”