The railings outside William Shakespeare's birthplace could be moved to try and protect the building from "over enthusiastic visitors".

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust says tourists lean over the nearly 150-year-old railings to "touch" and even "remove parts of the building" in Stratford-upon-Avon.

The Trust submitted a planning application after visitors went so far as to take roof tiles from the house as "souvenirs".

Playwright and poet William Shakespeare was born in the Warwickshire property in 1564.

Visitors to Henley Street walk in close proximity to the birthplace of the Bard. Credit: PA

The Trust says it hopes moving the railings forward by one metre will help "maintain and preserve" the property for future generations.

In planning documents submitted to Stratford-on-Avon District Council, the Trust says the current railings date to around 1862.

If the bid is given the go ahead, the Trust says it will reuse as many of the current railings as possible - while repairing railings damaged from where "visitors have pushed against them".

Head of Estates at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Mark Ratcliffe, says moving the railings out by one metre will help improve security.

"The realignment of the railings outside Shakespeare’s Birthplace is part of the ongoing Henley Street Improvement Project," he said.

"Moving the railings forward by around one metre will enclose the new external lighting being installed as part of the project.

"This is preferable for operational and safety reasons, as well as improving the general security of the Birthplace itself at street level."

A decision is expected to be made on the application by the end of March.