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Right to roam v Private Road

Re: Right to roam v Private Road

Postby Chris Henshall » Tue Jun 15, 2021 7:04 pm

As someone living deep in southern England without the benefit of comprehensive right to roam legislation, it has been interesting to follow this discussion.
Land ownership is problematic because, while nobody – at least yet – suggests that anyone has a right to own the air which we breathe and we don't pay anyone for the rain which waters our gardens, the land on which we walk is different. Even though its existence on the planet is a function of geological forces which predate mankind by billions of years and is as serendipitous as the existence of air and rainwater, a relatively small minority of people has legally established rights across quite a lot of Britain to tell me and you where we can and cannot walk, to accuse us of trespass and to turn us off what they consider to be their land. On one level, this seems both absurd and unreasonable – yet it remains the case that land ownership is a critical route to power and wealth in twenty-first century Britain and, as the former Duke of Westminster once suggested, to be a winner in this particular lottery, it pays “…to have an ancestor who was a close friend of William the Conqueror.” This is not a fair or just way to run any kind of society and it's great that Scotland is well ahead of the rest of the UK in trying to do something about it.
So, while wandering into people's gardens close to their house and staring in through their windows is clearly unacceptable, most thinking people will surely be on the side of those who believe that, if it isn't already, access to paths, to tracks, to roads of all description and to open country should be a right. As such, while the journey to the environs of the Aucheneden Estate will be a long one for me, I'll try and make a point of dropping in and doing this walk in the next year or so; it looks like a worthwhile jaunt.
Two interesting and relevant books may be worth recommending here:
1. The Book of Trespass: Crossing the Lines that Divide Us by Nick Hayes.
2. The Poor Had No Lawyers: Who Owns Scotland and How They Got it by Andy Wightman.
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Re: Right to roam v Private Road

Postby Navvarr » Tue Jun 15, 2021 10:00 pm

It's one thing that I and my fellow walkers always value when we're out and about together, the right to responsibility walk and explore where we feel we would like to.
I've actually lead over 50 walking groups on anything from Munros, Corbetts to laterally during lockdown around and about the Kilpatrick Hills and that's the reason I'll always take a stand when someone takes it upon themselves to try to close off a walk for their own selfish reasons.

I'll walk an area, sometimes on my own in the wee small hours just enjoying that freedom- that's something valuable and to be protected.
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Re: Right to roam v Private Road

Postby LobeyD » Tue Jun 15, 2021 10:43 pm

Was away at the weekend so missed the fun. Being familiar with the path, much of what has been said didn't ring true. Before responding I decided to head up there today just to make sure I had it straight.

The other end of the track starts at a gate of the main tarmac access road to Edenmill. There is a accesible gap next to the gate and no signage. About 10m further on is a 8ft fence with stile (one of those Grade 2 stiles where a rope may be advisible :D), but what I assume was a gate has been removed, so no obvious barriers here either to deter the intrepid. The path then wends it way through trees, some natural and some that look planted, but nothing that looks inhabited or private. This is clearly not a heavily used path. There are no obvious boundaries or change of ownership on the path. There is the same 8ft fence at the other end leading to the private road, but with a padlocked gate. At no point so far, and this is important, has the offending house been visible. The fence only extends for a short distance left where it can be crossed. A quick glance as I passed the house would suggest there is no way of entering the garden from that side without obviously tresspassing.

Assuming at least one set of folk have entered the rear garden of the house. The most obvious way this happened was that on seeing the padlocked gate and not looking far enough to the left to see the downed fence, they have tried to get to the main road through the trees rather than take the 30 minute detour back via Edenmill and have entered that way.

I have a degree of sympathy with folk living in the small number of hill areas within 5 miles of Glasgow over the last year. But only where a similar sympathy and understanding was extended to us Weedgies on the other end of that bargain. It is entirely possible that the homeowner has had some unpleasant experiences but this has nothing to do with the path. The padlocked gate is incongruous as barring access out makes no sense from that side, which is why I am OK with crossing the fence. As mentioned, by locking the gate and removing the stile you possibly force folk to try and get round, not knowing a house is there. Law of Unintended Consequences and all that.

Assuming the land ownership mentioned is accurate, there would be much to recommend that the padlock is removed, allowing people to use the path of least resistance that disturbs no-one. As shown, anything else will simply make the route more visible or give folk more of a reason to go off-piste.
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Re: Right to roam v Private Road

Postby Marty_JG » Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:56 am

Whilst everyone is, naturally enough, inherently sympathetic to tales of abuse (child endangerment, vandalism, etc.) the absurd and hostile gross mischaracterisations of Navvarr's posts means I'm having to take the stated tales of woe with a dose of salt.

I've spoken to various homeowners on the Kilpatrick Braes route and they've all be lovely. The cottage with the horses in the paddock are happy to let you enter the field to pick blackberries. Lovely old boy. And his place is directly adjacent to the thoroughfare. It's just part of life living there. There are some homes further up and I've met a few of them walking dogs, etc., and again they've been a delight. They understand and respect that whilst there can be problematic individuals and groups (bad parking, litter, drunk teens & tweens etc.) they are still part of a wider society that has a legitimate right to move past their otherwise isolated homes.
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Re: Right to roam v Private Road

Postby rodderss » Thu Jun 17, 2021 7:12 am

Well, I’m in the minority here.

I’m sympathetic to the homeowner here.

Seems to be lots of land to reroute a path away from property would be a simple solution.
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Re: Right to roam v Private Road

Postby Marty_JG » Thu Jun 17, 2021 7:39 am

A simple solution but who pays for the work? You? The homeowner? Or you want Auchineden Estate to pay for it, and provide the land, ultimately putting the costs on the other tenets of the estate?

The road is not new. He bought a house next to a road, a road that is someone else's property. Rerouting a road because of one house might seen a simple solution, but it reminds me of the old maxim: for every problem there is a solution that is obvious, easy, and wrong.
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Re: Right to roam v Private Road

Postby rodderss » Thu Jun 17, 2021 7:59 am

Let’s not exaggerate here.

Is this a road that cars use or simply a path that people walk on, that can be moved easily at very little costs.

If it’s a road for cars then fair enough.

Seems al78 is the only person who lives in the real world where a minority of people unfortunately abuse things.
Fully believe people look in his windows.Happens all the time.
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Re: Right to roam v Private Road

Postby Border Reiver » Thu Jun 17, 2021 8:48 am

rodderss wrote:
Fully believe people look in his windows.Happens all the time.


We live in a small cul-de-sac with a path that goes to a park and community centre. Many people walk, run and cycle past the foot of our garden. We did notice a while back that some folk turn and stare towards our windows, so we wondered what they saw. We went out onto the footway and looked at our big lounge window and the only thing we could see was the reflection of us in the street. My guess is that these people are just checking themselves out as they pass.
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Re: Right to roam v Private Road

Postby rodderss » Thu Jun 17, 2021 8:56 am

Border.

All the same, when you live in an isolated rural property it’s very unnerving people looking in your windows.
And more so if you have a young family
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Re: Right to roam v Private Road

Postby rabthecairnterrier » Thu Jun 17, 2021 10:07 am

rodderss wrote:Border.

All the same, when you live in an isolated rural property it’s very unnerving people looking in your windows.
And more so if you have a young family

The issue here is that the householder is attempting to restrict access to land over which he has no ownership or control, and over which the public at large have a legal right of access. In essence this is no different from an urban householder who's walls/windows directly abut the highway with no frontal curtilage(*) attempting to prevent people walking along the street, and in far greater numbers than the householder here has to complain about.
(*) There are many such properties in Scotland; the residents seem to manage fine without kicking up a fuss about it.
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Re: Right to roam v Private Road

Postby al78 » Thu Jun 17, 2021 1:00 pm

rodderss wrote:Border.

All the same, when you live in an isolated rural property it’s very unnerving people looking in your windows.
And more so if you have a young family


It is unnerving having people looking through your windows wherever you live. In almost all cases the homeowner can't stop people using a right of way past their property, so a simple solution is to install blinds/net curtains.
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Re: Right to roam v Private Road

Postby Navvarr » Thu Jun 17, 2021 1:03 pm

I would advise- go and walk the path- you'll notice that the house is positioned such that no one is going to wander into the garden by mistake.

There's a road for cars outside the house- its on land that belongs to the estate that anyone can use -we all have responsible access the homeowner has no right to stop anyone from passing.

The homeowner is actually telling people that they're not allowed to walk past house house due to his privacy being infringed- he's incorrect.

The fact is that the homeowner has made an issue out of nothing- the walkers such as myself will continue to walk past- the people that want to set fire to bins, peek in windows etc will still do that if they so wish.

I suggest that the homeowner accepts that he'll not be able to stop the passing of decent ordinary walkers and in the case of the reprobates who allegedly are partaking in antisocial behaviours- install a decent CCTV system or an alarm system- and call the police if they catch anyone because deterring ordinary walkers doesn't stop the reprobates and ne'er do wells.

Again, an example, my neighbour who is an awful driver bashed my son's car whilst reversing his car out of the driveway - he got caught because I have a mobile phone pointing down at the cars recording - no quibbles, he paid up after being shown.

I didn't attempt to ban cars from passing my house following the incident.
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Re: Right to roam v Private Road

Postby Navvarr » Thu Jun 17, 2021 1:11 pm

rodderss wrote:Let’s not exaggerate here.

Is this a road that cars use or simply a path that people walk on, that can be moved easily at very little costs.

If it’s a road for cars then fair enough.

Seems al78 is the only person who lives in the real world where a minority of people unfortunately abuse things.
Fully believe people look in his windows.Happens all the time.


Perhaps they do- but I can assure you that when I was out walking with my friends we were all minding our own business when the home owner approached us- we never got as far as peeking in his windows had that been our intention.

The other person who also commented that they'd been approached by a woman shouting after them also seems that they were minding their own business as well.

This is a homeowner who appears to pre-empt folk peeking in his windows and tries to warn us off prior to doing so.

I'll reiterate- I like walking in the area, neither myself nor my friends have any interest in peeking in his windows.
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Re: Right to roam v Private Road

Postby Senja » Sun Jun 20, 2021 1:51 pm

I have decided to close the John Muir Way. It goes past my house and I am sure you will all respect my right to privacy. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.
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Re: Right to roam v Private Road

Postby Chris Henshall » Sun Jun 20, 2021 4:15 pm

Dear Senja,
I'm afraid that such arrogant, entitled and selfish behaviour may mean a return to the 1930s.
Mass Trespass.jpg
A solution to landowners with an inflated sense of entitlement
I will certainly try to attend...
Yours, etc.
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