POLICE are hunting a hit-and-run driver after a woman was injured in a row over a road closure in the New Forest.

Wittensford Lane, Cadnam, has been shut to prevent it being used as a rat-run by motorists determined to avoid a long diversion caused by the replacement of a cattle grid on the nearby B3079.

A large number of drivers started heading down Wittensford Lane after a short section of the B3079 was dug up a week ago.

The narrow single-track route has now been coned off at both ends following complaints about the "mayhem" caused by all the extra vehicles, some of which had to be towed out of the mud.

But one driver is alleged to have taken matters into his own hands.

Locals say the motorist started to remove a "Road Closed" sign at the junction of Wittensford Lane and Kewlake Lane when he was challenged by a woman pedestrian, who was subsequently hit by the vehicle and left lying on the ground.

A police spokesman said: "We were called at 4.48pm last Friday to reports of a collision in Kewlake Lane.

"It was reported that a collision occurred between a car and a pedestrian following a verbal dispute between the pedestrian and the driver.

"The pedestrian, a 21-year-old woman from Cadnam, was knocked to the ground and sustained minor injuries.

"The vehicle, described as a blue/grey estate - possibly an Audi - then drove away along Kewlake Lane. Enquiries are ongoing."

Following the closure of the B3079 drivers were urged to take the A31 and the A338, which involved a long diversion via Ringwood and Fordingbridge.

Many starting using Wittensford Lane until it was shut by Hampshire County Council towards the end of last week.

Speaking before the lane was coned off Cllr Rob Humby, the county council's executive member for transport said: "During the closure (of the B3079) we have set up a diversion via the A31 and A338 for through traffic.

"While I appreciate this diversion route is quite long we need to make sure the roads we are diverting traffic on to are similar to the road we have had to close.

"Drivers with local knowledge may choose different routes, but we would ask all drivers to respect the Forest and not to use unsuitable roads."

Anyone who witnessed the incident involving the driver and the pedestrian, or has any information about the collision, should contact Hampshire police on 101, quoting 44180072259.