Author Topic: Overgrown public footpath  (Read 1423 times)

sherpaboy

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Overgrown public footpath
« on: 11:39:57, 03/11/17 »
I live, and walk on anglesey. One of the footpaths i tried to use is extremely overgrown. There is a ladder style that leads to it, and a gravel driveway running parallel to it. To get to where i wanted to go, i was forced to use the gravel driveway. The gravel driveway is used by three houses. Two householders don't bother. But the last one the public footpath runs through his garden. He came runnung out of his house, saying if I didnt use the footpath, and not the driveway, i was trespassing. Is this true, and what, if anything can he do about it?

jimbob

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Re: Overgrown public footpath
« Reply #1 on: 12:20:50, 03/11/17 »
Yep it's true. However trespass is a civil offence and he can only sue you for it. For that he would need your name, address etcetera. and he would have to go to the expense of hiring a solicitor the costs of whom would be rarely covered in a one on one case. I find that in the one instance that this happened to me a grovelling apology sufficed and I ended up having a cuppa in the fellows house.
You should report the state of the ROW to the relevant officer in the local authority that covers that area. However they frequently depend on volunteers to help keep ROWs clear, so they may be interested in any help you can give personally.
Too little, too late, too bad......

sussamb

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Re: Overgrown public footpath
« Reply #2 on: 13:03:10, 03/11/17 »
You may legally seek an alternative route if the footpath is blocked.
Where there's a will ...

barewirewalker

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Re: Overgrown public footpath
« Reply #3 on: 14:11:59, 03/11/17 »
I think the legal distance you are allowed to veer off the right of way is 5m either side. But as Jimbob says the trespass caused by avoiding obstruction is a civil matter and the cause of the obstruction may over ride the nuisance of an enforced trespass. It is a criminal offence to obstruct or attempt tp stop someone using a right of way, I personally think that not enough effort is made by local authorities to make landowners and property owners realise that bad husbandry which causes obstruction is an obstruction.


Because landowners are choosing to become involved in agricultural practice, to lessen their liability in capital transfer tax, they tend to disregard the responsibilities of husbandry they imposed on their tenants in tenancy agreements, when it was more convenient for them just to gather rents and be free of the harder work involved in farming. It has always struck me that local authorities are remiss in not billing landowners for money spent in clearing obstruction, such as seasonal overgrowth  and worse as it was once considered good husbandry to maintain hedges, cut out verges and repair drainage so that the old ways did not deteriorate.


A hedge is as much a crop as as those seasonally planted, it will decline in usefulness if allowed to overgrow, it will become less stock proof is the bottom is choked with weeds, it would be a good idea if local authorities collected some old tenancy agreements, read them and started to instruct landowners to follow the example their forefathers expected of their tenants.
BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.

happyhiker

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Re: Overgrown public footpath
« Reply #4 on: 17:37:31, 03/11/17 »
You should report the state of the ROW to the relevant officer in the local authority that covers that area. However they frequently depend on volunteers to help keep ROWs clear, so they may be interested in any help you can give personally.


Good luck with that. In my limited experience, they are a waste of time.

jimbob

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Re: Overgrown public footpath
« Reply #5 on: 18:16:36, 03/11/17 »
I sort of agree because I know some local authorities are better than others.
Too little, too late, too bad......

sunnydale

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Re: Overgrown public footpath
« Reply #6 on: 08:44:42, 04/11/17 »
I live, and walk on anglesey. One of the footpaths i tried to use is extremely overgrown. There is a ladder style that leads to it, and a gravel driveway running parallel to it. To get to where i wanted to go, i was forced to use the gravel driveway. The gravel driveway is used by three houses. Two householders don't bother. But the last one the public footpath runs through his garden. He came runnung out of his house, saying if I didnt use the footpath, and not the driveway, i was trespassing. Is this true, and what, if anything can he do about it?


Were you on the coast path not far from Hell's Mouth by any chance? (between Bull Bay and Cemaes Bay)
***Happiness is only a smile away***

sherpaboy

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Re: Overgrown public footpath
« Reply #7 on: 09:15:48, 04/11/17 »
The footpath i was trying to use is the first one as u leave bryntegg heading towards llangefni along the main rd. As i said there is a ladder style well signposted, that just descends into a forrest of thorny shrubs.  It was impossible for me to get through it at all. I did go into the town hall and spoke to someone about it. And he said they would send someone up to look at it. Thank you all for your advice.

Andies

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Re: Overgrown public footpath
« Reply #8 on: 10:25:20, 04/11/17 »

Good luck with that. In my limited experience, they are a waste of time.

I agree, Suffolk's Rights of Way Department usually fails to deal with issues despite initially saying they will, and subsequent reminders often don't get a response. Over the years I have reported many issues and although some would eventually be dealt with, it often seemed to take years. In many cases I have no idea whether it was my reporting it that resulted in something eventually being done or someone else.

I became very disillusioned with the whole process especially after an email exchange with an senior figure in the ROW Department who basically said I was making too many reports of issues with ROW, although he accepted that all that I had done were genuine and needed to be addressed :o

After a period of just not bothering to report issues I became aware of the Ramblers Pathwatch process which is very simple to use (as per their website). I suspect anything coming from the Ramblers will have more impact than the individual ::)

The other approach I have also now adopted is to send details of the ROW issues to the relevant Parish Council directly. I did this for one village I have connections with and the matter was then brought up at a Parish Council meeting. The Parish Council Clerk then approached the Suffolk ROW Department directly, and nineteen ROW issues were logged with them. Within six weeks all the issues were dealt with, many of which I had previously reported over the years repeatedly but nothing had happened O0

So if you are so minded that might be another approach worth trying :)





barewirewalker

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Re: Overgrown public footpath
« Reply #9 on: 12:25:21, 04/11/17 »
As a point of interest, I think there are many examples of historical precedence of a footpath being created by the need to avoid unsuitable conditions, actually mapped by the OS. I have just been comparing the route of my last walk with the 1880 first edition of the OS map. Where we walked along an attractive track which bowed around a field, there was a footpath mapped on the old map, a seemingly meaningless shortcut across the field, so short as to be hardly worth climbing fences for. Well dressed people of all classes would expect to arrive at their destinations dry and clean. The track was below the field level and so liable to be wet and and also likely to be cut up by passage of livestock.


I now find I see more of these anomalies comparing old maps with new, it can add a new interpretation of the old routes and their importance to local communities.


Perhaps more understanding by today's property owners might be learnt from the practices of rural communities 150 years ago.
BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.

pauldawes

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Re: Overgrown public footpath
« Reply #10 on: 16:37:22, 04/11/17 »
Odd one today.


Following a footpath about a mile long, effectively from one fairly busy road (albeit with a good pavement) to another busy road with no pavement. In general direction I was walking better alternate routes available.


I just mention that general background because it struck me as one of those posers barewirewalker mentions from time to time: "why is there a footpath there at all". But not often in area, and obviously worth walking a footpath I'd never used before.


Surprisingly there was a clear path on the ground, and was finding all the stiles easily. The stiles were well maintained, and carried well maintained footpath signs. Everything suggested strongly that farmer welcomed walkers. Slight oddity was that stile placements didn't match that shown on OS map.


Got through to last field before road. As before well maintained stile with clear direction marker. But it was completely unpassable because farmer had sectioned the field, using "portable fencing" off into 12 mini paddocks with a horse in each mini fenced off area. And for first time there was no clear path on ground.


There was no way I was going to duck under 12 lots of mini fencing, while blundering around looking for proper direction, risking close proximity to 12 different horses, etc.


So climbed over nearby gate and used farm drive to get to road...expecting farmer to come out anytime..but nobody seemed to be about. (Which was a pity...because everything about general set-up suggested guy welcomed walkers, and I'm pretty sure there was a good explanation for last field seemingly being blocked. It might have been as simple as "everybody knows to use drive when I've got horses out".)
« Last Edit: 16:40:33, 04/11/17 by pauldawes »

fernman

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Re: Overgrown public footpath
« Reply #11 on: 17:40:49, 04/11/17 »
Ah yes, the old "everybody knows", excluding you!
I've been in a very similar situation following a well-signed permissive path around the back of a farmhouse. It was clear that the occupant preferred people to go this way rather than use the RoW that went up his drive and past his front door.
But I reached a corner of a pasture that was blocked off with electric fences, with the exit stile clearly in sight within them. The obvious solution was to climb over a metal five-bar gate into the adjoining field and continue to where the permissive path joined it.

NeilC

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Re: Overgrown public footpath
« Reply #12 on: 13:02:09, 06/11/17 »
What the law on your rights to cut the footpath clear?
I.e. is one within one's rights to clear it with a machete or saw?

sussamb

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Re: Overgrown public footpath
« Reply #13 on: 13:16:44, 06/11/17 »
Yes.  You're allowed to remove any obstruction.
Where there's a will ...

barewirewalker

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Re: Overgrown public footpath
« Reply #14 on: 14:19:40, 06/11/17 »
What the law on your rights to cut the footpath clear?
I.e. is one within one's rights to clear it with a machete or saw?


Tut tut ::)


A RoW is a public place so any knife prescribed as a dangerous weapon would get you into trouble if found on your person.


Sad but those who cannot behave have made it a very picky world.
BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.