Author Topic: Wandering off-piste  (Read 1010 times)

barewirewalker

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Wandering off-piste
« on: 11:42:30, 18/10/17 »
Last Saturday Mrs BWW and I set out to walk a 5 mile circular in south Shropshire. All following fairly popular RoWs, and I had every intention to adhere to the righteous way. About a mile into the route the slope on our right hand culminated in a substantial Knoll and Mrs BWW readily agreed to a slight deviation off course to visit the top, a small patch of savanna in the midst of 40 or 60 acres of pasture. The knoll was about 200 yds away with a climb of 5-600 ft, the veer off course was from footpath crossing the grassland fields from a track to an entry point into a wood.


When we reached the summit of the knoll, the reward for this slight deviation was one of the high points of a walk, we both agreed after, was ace high. Amongst the trees I notice a small but ancient yew tree. I should have taken a photo, but although it had signs of great antiquity, it did not seem to lend itself to a 'picture' at that moment and we descended to enter the wood and continue a walk through dells, dales and defiles.


On the return half of a clockwise circuit, I pointed out the knoll to my lady, the reverse side of 'Church Hill'!. But being a bear of very small brain, it had not occurred to me, when standing on that knoll, the significance of the name. The reason for a very old Yew standing alone amongst stunted Scot's Pine and other trees. Had there once been a church upon that knoll and does the trepidation I felt to veer off the righteous way and tread on private land, justify the query I finish this sentence with?


The simple logic of Scotland's 2003 Land Reform Act would ease the latent adrenaline rush, that might have occurred if a quad bike bearing bucolic ire had come speeding up the hill towards us, but the peace of the day was not rent with such.


The motive to want to stand where your ancestors once stood and even worshiped, is that part of sharing the countryside? For me at the moment my feet veered off the righteous way it was the feature of that knoll that drew my erring steps towards that place.
BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.

fernman

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Re: Wandering off-piste
« Reply #1 on: 16:57:05, 18/10/17 »
I wouldn't worry about if I were you. I do it frequently, though in my case it is usually to investigate bits of untrod woodland and other places where less common species of ferns might grow. Many years ago I sent details of some finds on a non-public area to the local botany recorder, who was somewhat horrified and told me quite severely that in her role as the official recorder for the area she couldn't possibly submit records that were from private land!   

Being a little bit anarchistic by nature I have no qualms about it, and I happily disregard those pointless Private Woodland signs along with the Nature Conservation Area ones that really mean "We rear pheasants for shooting at". Apart from that, on my day walks in Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire I regularly see people, usually with dogs, walking around or even across fields and farmland where there are no rights of way.

Some might say I have the wrong attitude, to do wrong because I see others doing it, but over at least twenty-five years I have never been challenged and I will only reconsider my actions if that ever happens.

Mel

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Re: Wandering off-piste
« Reply #2 on: 18:49:47, 18/10/17 »
Same here.  I just "do it".  I've not been challenged either. 


It's always good to discover hidden gems that might otherwise be missed and, if you can get to them without damage or injury to yourself or your surroundings then go for it  O0


Could your 'Church Hill' have been a preachers' point?  Where a man of the cloth would stand and address his adoring followers below?

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BuzyG

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Re: Wandering off-piste
« Reply #3 on: 19:43:24, 18/10/17 »
Be respectful, avoid livestock and don't damage anything and there is no real reason why a landowner would put effort in to challenge an inquisitive rambler. O0   Of course there must be a few who would.  But happily I've not met any. :)

barewirewalker

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Re: Wandering off-piste
« Reply #4 on: 10:32:36, 19/10/17 »
Three very supportive posts and interesting comments from members who are fortunate not to have experienced the unacceptable face of landownerism.




Those who have been around a while may have read my posts, which explain how I came to be a member of this forum and others, I was verbally abused by a professional occupier of our countryside, who prior to that encounter I may have called a 'farmer', but somehow the internal propaganda of his profession had morphed him into the worst example of 18th century squirarchy. On that occasion I was firmly and squarely on a right of way.




My most recent confrontation, when I had the pleasure of encountering the President of the Shropshire Country Landowner's Association on his home patch, I was accused of being a potential risk to children.




Having read this stalwart citizen's parent organisation's policy on access to the countryside, I was struck by its total lack of awareness that the landowner should recognise how their occupation of our countryside affects both their neighbours and the wider community.




[/size]Could your 'Church Hill' have been a preachers' point?  Where a man of the cloth would stand and address his adoring followers below?
A very interesting point, I wonder if it a more northern feature related to the strength of non-conformists, I had not heard of them. I took the presence of an ancient yew tree to suggest a church yard.


Be respectful, avoid livestock and don't damage anything and there is no real reason why a landowner would put effort in to challenge an inquisitive rambler.   Of course there must be a few who would.  But happily I've not met any.
It seems I have not been as lucky as you. Having spent 17 years of my working life in farm management and much of that time as an active NFU member, I often feel that the agricultural industry is very remiss in not recognising the true worth of those, who visit the countryside.






I wouldn't worry about if I were you. I do it frequently, though in my case it is usually to investigate bits of untrod woodland and other places where less common species of ferns might grow. Many years ago I sent details of some finds on a non-public area to the local botany recorder, who was somewhat horrified and told me quite severely that in her role as the official recorder for the area she couldn't possibly submit records that were from private land!   




Being a little bit anarchistic by nature




Interesting point. I expect your expertise in recognising species and their importance in certain habitats far exceeds the average if not the majority of landowners and other occupiers of our countryside. I should have thought that the local botany recorder should have been thankful of the sightings you made.




I think we share an anarchic approach to this problem, in my opening post I mention the simple logic of the 2003 Scottish Land Reform Act's ability to solve many of these anomalies at a stroke.
By discussions between those, who dare to step off the righteous way, would it be possible to start to quantify the reasons why the landowner should recognise why others may wish to share in his occupation of our countryside.
« Last Edit: 10:37:46, 19/10/17 by barewirewalker »
BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.

pauldawes

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Re: Wandering off-piste
« Reply #5 on: 13:19:18, 19/10/17 »
I must admit a wide grin broke out as soon as I saw the phrase “I had every intention to stick to the righteous way” and I mentally added the rider “unless I saw something really interesting that could be visited without causing damage”.




barewirewalker

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Re: Wandering off-piste
« Reply #6 on: 09:38:32, 21/10/17 »
I must admit a wide grin broke out as soon as I saw the phrase “I had every intention to stick to the righteous way” and I mentally added the rider “unless I saw something really interesting that could be visited without causing damage”.


Delighted to have been the cause of your wide grin PD, I must admit to a healthy measure of irony in the composition of the opening post and would have settled for a few wry smiles.
BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.

fit old bird

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Re: Wandering off-piste
« Reply #7 on: 13:36:19, 21/10/17 »
 ???   :-\ 


Ilona

Sloth

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Re: Wandering off-piste
« Reply #8 on: 19:34:31, 21/10/17 »
A dilemma, their land, our country. I always want to try the pass less travelled and often do so, I've never been challenged and often chat to hill farmers and they seem to enjoy seeing someone. I guess most walkers are respectful and leave no trace especially those who go off the beaten track.

gunwharfman

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Re: Wandering off-piste
« Reply #9 on: 20:20:19, 21/10/17 »
Sorry, a bit thick maybe, but what does 'their land, my country mean'? Is 'their' to do with the landowner?

barewirewalker

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Re: Wandering off-piste
« Reply #10 on: 10:36:14, 22/10/17 »
Sorry, a bit thick maybe, but what does 'their land, my country mean'? Is 'their' to do with the landowner?


Bit difficult to capture in so few words a complex anomaly! But I think they do it rather well, it is close to this "This Land is Our Land" a
Book by Marion Shoard, though my version is "Their Land is in Our Country". The anomaly is that a very small, privileged minority dictates to the rest how we access our countryside, that minority corrupted the implementation of the legislation that was supposed to give us access and several generations later are in denial of that process.


Do those of us who use the access network question it's effectiveness, when Gunwharfman walked Glyndwr's Way was he walking the best route the terrain had to offer or was he channeled along those RoW's most convenient to provide a meandering route around that part of Wales.

   
Ilona
Ilona gives it a 'huh' and an 'undecided', but when she did her longest C2C she followed many canals, these filled in the absence of other RoWs, but if she were to try say; Lowestoft to Aberystwyth several counties RoW networks would force her onto the highway for very long distances. Even worse the best terrain would be denied to encourage others to follow this example.[/size]
Would this be an isolated case? Another forum member walked from the Wash to Welsh Coast but when they came to Shropshire they were not allowed to walk continuous country footpaths though, they was continuity of way shown on pre-1940 OS maps.



A dilemma, their land, our country. I always want to try the pass less travelled and often do so, I've never been challenged and often chat to hill farmers and they seem to enjoy seeing someone. I guess most walkers are respectful and leave no trace especially those who go off the beaten track.


Sloth is fortunate, it was the very image of a hill farmer, who verbally abused me for being on a RoW, he told me that it was to give traffic access to his farm, despite there being a footpath that continued in the direction I was travelling on the other side of his buildings. The waymarks had not been put up, had he dropped them in the waste paper basket along with his tax returns?


I was a rock climber before I started to walk for leisure, back then we tried to improve the routes that had been put up, was there a better start were there the features to improve the way to the destination, perhaps it is because I bring this to my walks that I question the way I am allowed to go, it gives me a lot more interest.


What has alarmed me, since being on a Local Access Forum is the hidden agenda of the landowner's of this country. The signs are as clear to read as a badger's footprints from it's latrine.


I remember standing on the top of the Malvern Hills and seeing the Black Mountains, a pure cross country walk between them is not possible and the reason is the parishes that refused to put the old ways onto the Definitive Map. In between the River Wye crosses the line of sight, the approach to the only non-urban bridge is compromised by the land of the landowner, who wrote the CLA's policy on access and this tells all landowner's that lostways have no relevance.


It is a midden I poke from time to time to see what odours come forth.[/font]
BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.

sparnel

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Re: Wandering off-piste
« Reply #11 on: 17:39:49, 22/10/17 »
Why don't you all write to your MPs and get them to put a Bill onto the statute book like the one we have in Scotland........
we can walk, camp, ride horses almost anywhere as long as we do it responsibly! We get very little of 'this is my ground - keep off!' Get the petition started!

fit old bird

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Re: Wandering off-piste
« Reply #12 on: 19:06:47, 22/10/17 »
Huh, and undecided means I don't know what you are talking about. Not a conversation I feel I can join in with.


Ilona

Sloth

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Re: Wandering off-piste
« Reply #13 on: 19:29:10, 22/10/17 »
Good piece on Countryfile this evening around this topic, though it did lean in favour of landowners. Landowners are trying to use sheep worrying by dogs to close rights of way, all be it temporarily. While I have a great deal of sympathy in regard to this why cant just dogs be stopped?
My main issue is not with small local farmers but with huge landowners who stop the right to roam on huge area's of the countryside, generally I believe in the right to roam and the right to wild camp for a night. I do wild camp however and have never been challenged because I normally do it in remote areas.


Mel

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Re: Wandering off-piste
« Reply #14 on: 19:42:17, 22/10/17 »

Sparnel - having a Scottish style right to roam in England would take the wind right out of barewirewalker's sails  :D [size=78%]  He lives for the potential confrontation with an "outraged" landowner [/size] ;)
No expense spared in pursuit of a bargain ;)