Author Topic: Did I trespass...or not ?  (Read 820 times)

Agentorange

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Did I trespass...or not ?
« on: 20:33:17, 15/09/20 »
Today I went walking near Westerham in Kent. One of the places I wanted to go was Tower Wood. There's an old folly or tower ( thus the name ) in the middle. But i wasn't sure of the status. Hosey Common to the east is public access and the estate to the west has lots of permissive paths....but Tower Wood seemed uncertain. On google maps street view shows a gate with what appears to be clear pedestrian access space at the junction of SR352, SR384 and the B2026 .

Got there after wandering around in the woods a bit. There clearly was a space to access the wood, not wired or fenced off and a sign saying it was owned by Sevenoaks council. So in I went. After a bit though there was a very large sign saying:

COUNTRYSIDE WATCH
TRESPASSERS AND POACHERS WILL BE PROSECUTED !

By this point it was probably as far to go back as forward so I just carried on. Yet when I came out the North end of Tower Wood and joined SR352 there were no fences gates or stiles the woods path just fed into the PROW.

So now I'm not sure if I trespassed or not....what a rebel eh ?  ;)

ninthace

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Re: Did I trespass...or not ?
« Reply #1 on: 22:00:26, 15/09/20 »
Technically - yes.  Not CROW land, no PROW.  Council owned land is not necessarily public access land.
« Last Edit: 22:07:35, 15/09/20 by ninthace »
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Agentorange

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Re: Did I trespass...or not ?
« Reply #2 on: 22:52:05, 15/09/20 »
Technically - yes.  Not CROW land, no PROW.  Council owned land is not necessarily public access land.

Which is pretty much what I thought......yet if you were going south from Westerham: Mill St ( NOT Mill Lane ) and SR352 you'd have no way of knowing. I don't mean a planned walk just a post sunday roast amble, following your nose as it were. You'd get to the wood and there's no fence, no sign, no gate nothing. You could think " I wonder where that goes ? " and suddenly you'd be trespassing.....odd really.

fernman

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Re: Did I trespass...or not ?
« Reply #3 on: 08:56:22, 16/09/20 »
There are at least two people on here who DO think 'I wonder where that goes?' and then intentionally trespass. I'm one of them, as my botanical curiosity gets the better of me  ::) and perhaps we'll be hearing from the other one  :)

barewirewalker

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Re: Did I trespass...or not ?
« Reply #4 on: 10:59:57, 16/09/20 »
I expect I am the other one  ;D . No one knew you were there, passed through a pleasant piece of countryside, did no damage and no one witnessed you being there so 'no trespass', or in my mind a 'Good Trespass' if you have come away with a reasons in your mind why you should be allowed to be there. Wanton Voyeurism or a wish to invade others privacy is not good trespass, to explore to understand how the countryside might be better enjoyed takes one into the grey area of 'intentional trespass' so I always study my map and the terrain and to have a reason for being where I am. So if confronted, I can go into attack mode (before Mell accuses me of aggressive speak) I mean intellectually.

First rule of thumb, claimed private land is an obstruction, I have an emergency and I have a destination I need to reach.

Interesting that the area in question seems to be council, Kent CC could be corporate members of the CLA, yet the CLA's 2012 national policy on access conflicts with the public interest IMO. I base this suspicion on finding out that Powys CC lists membership of the CLA, I wonder how many other Authorities have been baboozled into thinking that being a member of the an organization, whose members corrupted the definitive map in the past, are good advisors and as rate payers we are supporting an organization intent on keeping us out of our countryside.


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BuzyG

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Re: Did I trespass...or not ?
« Reply #5 on: 13:18:33, 16/09/20 »
I expect I am the other one  ;D . No one knew you were there, passed through a pleasant piece of countryside, did no damage and no one witnessed you being there so 'no trespass', or in my mind a 'Good Trespass.


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Mel

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Re: Did I trespass...or not ?
« Reply #6 on: 16:10:06, 16/09/20 »
Am assuming this is the area you mean AgentOrange?
 
 
 
Anyway, I say you didn’t trespass.  Just because there isn’t a PRoW shown on the map it doesn’t mean you can’t walk it or that you are in the wrong for doing so. 
 
Council owned land is very often “open” to the public and it’s usually very clear when it’s not! 
 
It seems Westerham Council positively encourage walks through Tower Wood:
 
http://www.visitwesterham.org.uk/visitors/v-walks-and-trails/v-other-walks
 
Think of all the inner city parklands – they have no RoWs through them - they are a “public space”. 
 
Here’s one near(ish) me:
 
 
 
I think your little woodland is simply a more rural variation of this. 
 
There are loads of tracts of land like that round me.  I’ve just done my scenic walk to the shops and walked back along the river bank.  It isn’t a RoW but there’s a clear path on the ground and it gets mowed and pruned back regularly by the Council.
 
As for the Countrywatch sign – they’re all about sheep rustling so, unless you were driving a 4x4 with a livestock trailer at 2am through there or wandering round with a brace of pheasants draped over your shoulder and a couple of rabbits dangling from your hipbelt, I can’t imagine anyone would even notice.
 
Sorry, you might have impressed barewirewalker with your alleged trespass but you’ll have to try harder with a true trespass to impress me  :D   ;D
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ninthace

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Re: Did I trespass...or not ?
« Reply #7 on: 17:18:58, 16/09/20 »
Mel. Areas as you described are marked as greenspace on the relevant OS greenspace map.  Tower Wood does not come up as a greenspace or a country park.  It just shows as woodland. 

Without knowing the area but looking at the map, I would think it comes under the heading "access tolerated" so technically a trespass but not a great one.  Over to the experts.


Edit to add:  The main access track to the tower from the public road is gated shut and there is a sign on a pole just to the left of the gate.  Unfortunately, from Devon I can't make out what it says.  :)
« Last Edit: 17:32:03, 16/09/20 by ninthace »
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Mel

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Re: Did I trespass...or not ?
« Reply #8 on: 17:33:18, 16/09/20 »
The council website (see link above) suggests/recommends a walk through the wood so I say it’s not a trespass if the council own the wood/land and are telling people they can walk there  :)
 
Is the search over if you find nothing?
https://snailspacewalks.blogspot.com/

ninthace

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Re: Did I trespass...or not ?
« Reply #9 on: 18:00:22, 16/09/20 »
The council website (see link above) suggests/recommends a walk through the wood so I say it’s not a trespass if the council own the wood/land and are telling people they can walk there  :)
Fair point - that authorises a route through the wood.
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barewirewalker

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Re: Did I trespass...or not ?
« Reply #10 on: 18:36:26, 16/09/20 »
Sorry, you might have impressed barewirewalker with your alleged trespass but you’ll have to try harder with a true trespass to impress me  :D   ;D
Lets hope that the we do not create a hierarchy of trespassing along the lines of Peak Bagging, but at least some are prepared to talk about it. Conversation and discussion helps to develop the ability to communicate about a subject, the language of expanding our access network is very limited. Elsewhere the term making the countryside more porous for the visitor was used, terms such as areas of Access Tolerated should be extended to those of private ownership.


Having spent 5 years on a LAF I never heard that term once used by council officials let alone other private occupiers. It seems obvious that some degree of access tolerance was practiced for the footpath network we used to have developed long before the creation of the formalized right of way and it's adjoining notion of private land.
« Last Edit: 18:48:05, 16/09/20 by barewirewalker »
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barewirewalker

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Re: Did I trespass...or not ?
« Reply #11 on: 22:22:01, 16/09/20 »

What happens if you meet Schrödinger's cat?
Love this concept  O0
BWW
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Agentorange

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Re: Did I trespass...or not ?
« Reply #12 on: 00:59:33, 17/09/20 »
Am assuming this is the area you mean AgentOrange?
 
 
 

 

 


Yes, that's it precisely, as you say it would seem that Westerham council  do encourage walks

"Pass through the gate and turn sharp right up a steep bank to a track running from left to right.  Turn right onto this track and follow it as it curves left, then right, and finally runs straight uphill through Tower Wood.  Walk up the hill until you reach the point where paths cross at right-angles and there is a ruined stone tower in the middle of the crossing.  Take the path straight ahead and follow it as it curves left then right until it finally reaches a road (B2026, Hosey Hill)."

That ( in reverse ) was pretty much what I did.

I would never have rabbits tucked in my belt.....

.......I keep them in my Gilet inside pockets  ;)

Joking aside. Although I'm quite happy to eat rabbit, i wouldn't  have a clue how to prepare one.

barewirewalker

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Re: Did I trespass...or not ?
« Reply #13 on: 09:23:25, 17/09/20 »
PM me and I'll write instructions on how to prepare a rabbit  :D , The sign you referred to in the OP is both out of date and a symptom of bad land management. It is intimidating, offensive and useless for purpose. If there is a problem of trespass (damage being done to private property by access) or illegal killing of wildlife then the notice should be asking the law abiding majority to help identify those responsible and giving contact details.

Unnecessary privacy notices are counter productive to the cooperation that should be encouraged in the countryside between visitor and occupier to counter bad behaviour and bear witness to criminal acts.

I think all walkers should be encouraged to carry stick on 'Question Marks' to peel and stick to these notices, all that is necessary in most case is to make the the way marks more visible so that the actual way is clearer and if there are signs that the way is being varied then the occupiers should ask themselves WHY. Here the sign seems to intimidate against access to useful green space, is it necessary?

Elsewhere I have tried to show, where obvious variations of way could make a routes safer.


I congratulate you on bringing this example to the attention of the forum. It has shown that the idiocy of petty squiredom extends into the bureaucracy of local government.
BWW
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GinAndPlatonic

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Re: Did I trespass...or not ?
« Reply #14 on: 11:10:32, 17/09/20 »


So now I'm not sure if I trespassed or not....what a rebel eh ?  ;)
O0 I wanna be in your gang.
This has made for an interesting thread . !
Virtue is more to be feared than vice, because it's excesses are not subject to the regulation of conscience - Adam Smith