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Farmer Padlocked Public Footpath Gate.

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 guffers_hump 20 Feb 2021

I was trying to walk past a public footpath gate at Oxlynch, near Haresfield beacon.  When I got there I found it to have a chain and padlock round it, stopping myself and the other person I was with from getting through.

This is the exact location 51° 45' 56" N 2° 15' 42" W.c

Is there a way to tell ROW?

[img]https://i.imgur.com/bygTGVQ.jpg[/img]

 wintertree 20 Feb 2021
In reply to guffers_hump:

Your local council’s definitive rights of way map.  Often disagrees with (and supersedes) OS maps in a few places.  Highly likely it is a PROW given the council fit waymarker.

 HardenClimber 20 Feb 2021
In reply to guffers_hump:

Your council will have something like this.....

https://cbmdc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=96f405cabeff443f820ac0c7df8fd658

Ramblers Association have a bit on their website called Pathwatch where you can report issues, otherwise go to your local highways authority.

On the rare occassion I've reported things it has been sorted quite quickly. (eg wall built accross a path). They aren't good on feedback to raporteur.

 Babika 20 Feb 2021
In reply to guffers_hump:

You can report any problems online to our local county council and drop a pin at the exact location. I've found it really easy with blocked gates, electric wire across ROW etc. 

Before that I used to ring the footpath officer and have a chat but that's all gone out of the window now, sadly.  

 guffers_hump 20 Feb 2021
In reply to wintertree:

Cheers, just checked my councils map. It is Standish footpath 39.

 EdS 20 Feb 2021
In reply to guffers_hump:

We've had a spate of PRoW been blocked, around here especially where doing up barn. 

Favoured methods are generally either on old gate tyed up loads of baler twine or "new" barbed wire fence across styles etc.

I don't leave home with out a penknife so that takes care of the twine. I've now taken to carrying a set of fencing pliers - cut the wire and leave it neatly coiled. 

You are allowed to remove illegal blockages. 

​​Take photos first - then report of RoW officer

In reply to guffers_hump:

> This is the exact location 51° 45' 56" N 2° 15' 42" W.c

OSGB GR would probably be less ambiguous...

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/off_belay/mapping_-_position_discrepancy-730470

A quick google for 'stroud access officer' found this handy web page:

https://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/highways/public-rights-of-way/

which has a link to an online version of the definitive map (as well as a form to report PRoW issues)

https://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/highways/public-rights-of-way/rights-of-way-online-map/

If I'm guessing the location correctly, from description and matching photo to the map, it looks to be at SO82040748. And the online definitve map does show a public footpath as per the OS map: 'Standish Footpath 39, EST39, USRN 38504717'.

I would probably have climbed the gate, or taken the FP along the track 250m to the E.

Interestingly, the online map spells it 'Oxlinch'.

[edit: I spent too long looking at nice maps and photos...]

Post edited at 10:11
 guffers_hump 20 Feb 2021
In reply to guffers_hump:

Alright, sweet cheers for the help/tips. I had an email address that someone gave me but that didn't work. Now reported it on https://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/highways/roads/your-highways-report-it/

Pretty easy to do tbf.

 wintertree 20 Feb 2021
In reply to EdS:

> Favoured methods are generally either on old gate tyed up loads of baler twine or "new" barbed wire fence across styles etc.

Two pairs of small needle needle nosed pliers make fast work of removing the barbs from atop a style without damaging the fence.

For obstructed gates I just climb them.  I’m not the skinny runt I used to be.  To avoid damaging hinges more then necessary one should climb near the hinge to reduce the torque on them......

 SteveX 20 Feb 2021
In reply to guffers_hump:

You can report this here https://www.gov.uk/right-of-way-open-access-land/use-public-rights-of-way

A friend of mine is a Footpaths Officer and he explained something I did not know. The gate is a concession to the land owner, not the user of the footpath, you have a  right in law to pass that way, and for example a gate, is allowed so the landowner can stop livestock straying.

I would think a cordless hand grinder would be the way ahead as the land owner has not placed a note excusing why the path is blocked. 

 C Witter 20 Feb 2021
In reply to guffers_hump:

Unfortunately this is a wider issue. Some landowners have been using covid-19 as an excuse for blocking access. Near me, one farmer has blocked a path and actually put signs up saying something like: "Respect our isolation - no access".  They also seem to have spraypainted some of the public footpath signs and knocked down one public footpath sign. I've seen this vandalism elsewhere, too.

It's important to resist it - though I think better to do so through official channels in the first instance, to stay well clear of charges of criminal damage and avoid inflaming tempers.

 guffers_hump 20 Feb 2021
In reply to EdS:

I contemplated smashing it off but the person I was with was against it.

 guffers_hump 20 Feb 2021
In reply to captain paranoia:

Those coordinates give the same location on OS Map and Google earth. As you will see from my previous message I had found it was Standish Footpath 39, but thank you anyway.

 guffers_hump 20 Feb 2021
In reply to C Witter:

Yes I have seen that since Covid. Farmers even dumped slurry around the Blue lagoon in Buxton. I'm sure that is an environmental hazard. But even if it isn't, I understand not wanting people to go there as its dangerous and people litter but to go so far as to dump slurry around it, is pretty spiteful.

Post edited at 11:27
 johncook 20 Feb 2021
In reply to guffers_hump:

The Blue lagoon is dyed black before each bank holiday and has been for many years. The water has a very high pH reading so they try to make it less inviting. 

The slurry was spread on the large level area (not in the pool!) to try to prevent the illegal raves that were happening during the first lockdown. (During these raves numerous cars were so badly parked that they closed main roads and also cause a lot of other problems!) No rights of way were blocked and as a climber I climbed there in my small bubble and had conversations with locals, who were happy to have walkers and climbers, just not the large groups of people and their anti-social behaviour! A very different situation to 'farmers' etc blocking rights of way. 

Post edited at 11:38
 DancingOnRock 20 Feb 2021
In reply to C Witter:

While the vandalism can’t be condoned, several gates around here have signs and barrier tape on them with ‘footpath temporarily diverted’ and official looking headings from local council. 
 

I was guessing certain rights of way can be closed across private land under these circumstances and are not absolute. 

 deepsoup 20 Feb 2021
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> I was guessing certain rights of way can be closed across private land under these circumstances and are not absolute. 

This came up in a thread recently about finding Derbyshire routes for off-road cycling.

Rights of way can't be closed on those grounds, but the diversion signs you're describing sound like they might be in line with this guidance:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-on-accessing-green-spaces-safely

"You do not have the legal right to block or obstruct public rights of way or open access land. However, where large numbers of people are using such routes, you may:

  • temporarily display notices to encourage the public to use alternative routes that do not pass through gardens, farmyards or schools
  • offer an alternative route around gardens and farmyards where it’s safe to do so - you must gain permission from relevant landowners and make sure the route is safe for users and livestock, and you must maintain the original right of way
  • put up signs warning people where footpaths are narrow and it is difficult to follow social distancing guidelines"
 Billhook 20 Feb 2021
In reply to DancingOnRock:

Path closures or temporary diversion should normally be notified in the local press and a notice at both ends of the proposed diversion.

 wintertree 20 Feb 2021
In reply to deepsoup:

> temporarily display notices to encourage the public to use alternative routes that do not pass through gardens, farmyards or schools

I'd add that the key word here is "encourage" - misleading the public onto alternative routes is not permitted.

My experience at the time of trying to get my employer's estate department to understand that they were committing an offence was an eye opener.

Misleading signs are an offence under a couple of acts, incurring fines for every day a removal order is ignored - and this includes signs not on the PROW but on adjacent land.  Councils have the power to remove such signs if due process is followed.

In reply to guffers_hump:

> Those coordinates give the same location on OS Map and Google earth. As you will see from my previous message I had found it was Standish Footpath 39, but thank you anyway

Nobody had replied when I started to reply, and I wrote the reply whilst investigating. Hence my edit comment; lots of people beat me to it...

The coordinates you gave didn't give the datum or geoid, so they don't identify a unique location. That's why I pointed to the recent thread on the issue.

 DancingOnRock 20 Feb 2021
In reply to wintertree:

Whether they’re illegal or not is a moot point. We are in a pandemic. People need to behave with a bit of intelligence and not stick to rigid laws.

In reply to guffers_hump:

> I was trying to walk past a public footpath gate at Oxlynch, near Haresfield beacon.  When I got there I found it to have a chain and padlock round it, stopping myself and the other person I was with from getting through.

If I saw that gate Scotland when I was following a marked path, I'd climb it without a seconds thought.

There's an official public footpath sign on it and there's no barbed wire or any other sh*t to make it hard to climb.  Padlock wouldn't worry me in the slightest, it's not a serious attempt to stop walkers, more like trying to stop cars.

But England is a diferent country...

 Lankyman 20 Feb 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> But England is a diferent country...

Yes, down here the landowner has a legal right to sleep with your daughter. If you're Welsh or Scottish he can fire arrows at you (but only after 10pm).

 SouthernSteve 20 Feb 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

More likely to stop bikes! Lockdown cyclists seem to have gone a bit feral!

In reply to guffers_hump:

There were widespread reports of blocked paths during the first lockdown  - perhaps understandably  - but authorities, once they got staff back on the ground, generally dealt with these obstructions. Fewer reports of blockages this time around but any locked gates (where no stile etc), misleading signs  or other obstructions need to be reported to the local rights of way section. 

I'm not sure if that many famers actually did provide alternative paths as per the  guidance  - it was all a bit rushed!

 SouthernSteve 21 Feb 2021
In reply to guffers_hump:

Although I think that blocked paths are wrong, and have reported one recently. I have some sympathy for the farmers around our village. Paths that used to be a thin ribbon of footprints along the edge of the fields are now 2m wide, sometimes more. In addition, people are not sticking to the paths and in the first lockdown a hole in a hedge totally off any footpath developed into a major throughfare. This was eventually blocked to good effect as the crop field beyond was being trashed.

In Leicestershire there is a 4-5 week wait before anyone will come back to you from the web system, but you do get an immediate acknowledgement. It would also be easier if the definitive maps were available at a suitable scale online rather than just for physical inspection, although there is a rough online version on the county council site which given most of the information. 

 SouthernSteve 21 Feb 2021
In reply to guffers_hump:

This is your second post on this topic. Are you a mole working for the Ramblers Association??   ;-)  

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/hilltalk/landowner_dug_up_stone_footpath_in_winchcombe-730912?v=1#x9398392

 Sputnick 21 Feb 2021
In reply to guffers_hump:

As a child, all my holidays were on my uncle's farm. It was a meeting point for all the farmers.  My belief was shaped. There should be no footpaths,  there hassle. 

As a teenager,  I was shot at on Beely moor.

Private land. The farmer recognised me. We laughed.  I should have chinned him.

 guffers_hump 22 Feb 2021
In reply to SouthernSteve:

Hahaha I did think it was quite funny to of posted something like that, then come across another example. It's just a coincidence honest. Maybe its more prevalent than people think. 

 guffers_hump 22 Feb 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

I probably should of said that we climbed over the gate. It's not like that padlocked gate would stop me. But its PROW gate, not a farmer one. They shouldn't be putting a padlock on it.

In reply to SouthernSteve:

The OS were poised to run an project to digitise all Definitive Maps a few years ago but he funding was pulled

 DancingOnRock 22 Feb 2021
In reply to Bulls Crack:

There is a right of way diagonally across a field near me. The farmer stopped me one day and told me there was no footpath. 
 

The finger posts at each end have been removed. The right of way is marked on the OS map. But he is correct, there is no footpath marked on the map. 
 

He couldn’t/wouldn’t tell me what route I should take, just waved in a non-committal way in a vague direction “over there”. I went round the edge of the field. 

In reply to Bulls Crack:

> The OS were poised to run an project to digitise all Definitive Maps a few years ago but he funding was pulled

That's disgraceful. However, many local authorities have digitised their definitive mapping, and have web portals to access it: e.g. the Gloucestershire site I posted above. Merging these sources would be a good start...

 Lankyman 22 Feb 2021
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> There is a right of way diagonally across a field near me. The farmer stopped me one day and told me there was no footpath. 

> The finger posts at each end have been removed. The right of way is marked on the OS map. But he is correct, there is no footpath marked on the map. 

You're contradicting yourself. If the OS map shows a RoW then you could have shown the map to him. If your map is old there may have been a diversion.

> He couldn’t/wouldn’t tell me what route I should take, just waved in a non-committal way in a vague direction “over there”. I went round the edge of the field. 

He sounds like he's being deliberately obstructive. If he was threatening then report him to the police and let the local county RoW official know about removed signage.

 DancingOnRock 22 Feb 2021
In reply to Lankyman:

> You're contradicting yourself. If the OS map shows a RoW then you could have shown the map to him. If your map is old there may have been a diversion.

No. A right of way doesn’t necessarily mean there is an actual visible footpath on the ground. I will raise this with the council though. It was in lockdown I wasn’t going anywhere near him or him, me.

> He sounds like he's being deliberately obstructive. If he was threatening then report him to the police and let the local county RoW official know about removed signage.

He wasn’t threatening. He pointed out that he had been spraying crops and it wasn’t a good idea for me to be anywhere near them. I had picked a route between the middle of two fields that avoided the crops and went in the general direction of the right of way. 
 

It is confusing because the OS says that their maps are not definitive legal documents. 

 climbingbadger 22 Feb 2021
In reply to captain paranoia:

I'd be shocked if those maps weren't created digitally. Nobody does hand plotting anymore, unless they're some kind of masochist and they're doing it for fun.

I mean, ArcMap 10.3 (what I assume most LAs use for mapping, considering ArcMap is industry standard) can produce web maps out of the box, and that's 5 versions out of date, not including ArcGIS Pro or ArcGIS Online.

There's no excuse for not having them avaliable online at large and small scales.

Post edited at 14:12
 DancingOnRock 22 Feb 2021
In reply to climbingbadger:

Just checked my local authority. The path is on there. They have an OS background with the paths overlaid. The overlay is digital. 

In reply to climbingbadger:

> I'd be shocked if those maps weren't created digitally. Nobody does hand plotting anymore, unless they're some kind of masochist and they're doing it for fun.

Absolutely; that's why local authorities digitised them; much easier to maintain in a GIS than on paper. Added advantage of enabling much easier public access, and integrating into a problem reporting & resolution system.

In reply to DancingOnRock:

Many farmers aren't keen on cross-field paths but, if its on the Definitive Map, it's a public highway and removing waymarkers is a criminal offence

In reply to captain paranoia:

this basic looking site actually pulls together a lot authorities' rights of way mapping https://www.rowmaps.com/ 

In reply to Bulls Crack:

I had a recollection that there was a site doing that, but I couldn't remember the details. Looks like that was the one I remembered... My 'WheresThePath' colleague probably pointed me to it, as his WtP page used the available digital definitive mapping sections for the 'magic wand' route drawing tool; it would drop down PRoW sections over the map, if you placed the cursor in the area covering that PRoW section. A great way of quickly creating a definitively-mapped route...

[edit] WtP still working, and magic wand still working...

Post edited at 16:02
 tallsteve 24 Feb 2021
In reply to guffers_hump:

  • A public footpath is "queen's highway" and maintained by the highways authority (i.e the local council).  It does NOT belong to the farmer.
  • Blocking gates and removing signs is illegal.  You have a right to unblock them as part of a walk but not to go specially prepared for that purpose (angle grinder in your back pack?)
  • A farmer needs to leave an uncultivated strip 1.5m wide for a footpath (more for a bridleway) that runs down the edge of a field.
  • A 1m strip is required where a path crosses the field.  They can plough and plant, but should restore the path to 1m wide within about 2 weeks of the plant growing - i.e. by mowing a strip.  I have hacked my way across too many Maize and Rape fields where this hasn't been done (yellow clothing anyone).

English and Welsh public paths are worth protecting.  They are pretty unique and arguably better than the Scottish wander at will system because they guarantee a way out the other side of the field, a bridge over a stream, and often an arrow on a post to stop you getting lost!  You can trek across great swathes of England and Wales in a way you can't really in other countries.  The French Rondonée system is good, but still not up to the Public footpath system we have.  With open access on the uplands through the CRoW acts I think we have a great system.

 David Riley 24 Feb 2021
In reply to tallsteve:

The local council website (county) has a good on-line form, which I used yesterday to report the removal of two footpath signs and the turning around of two others.   It claims to report progress back to me.

 Trangia 24 Feb 2021
In reply to EdS:

> I don't leave home with out a penknife so that takes care of the twine. I've now taken to carrying a set of fencing pliers - cut the wire and leave it neatly coiled. 

> You are allowed to remove illegal blockages. 

Better to report it to the Local Authority rather than take the law into your own hands. You need to be 100% sure, and up to to date so far as the LA Definitive Map is concerned in case its a recently approved diversion or temporary diversion (Notices to this effect should be displayed, but they can go missing or be vandalised) otherwise you may find yourself committing criminal damage.

Also you should never remove or damage a stock fence thereby allowing cattle to to stray and cause harm to themselves or others particularly next to a road,, even if the obstruction is illegal.

 David Riley 24 Feb 2021
In reply to David Riley:

>  It claims to report progress back to me.

And they have.

 EdS 24 Feb 2021
In reply to Trangia:

Trust me I know the local farmers..... 

In reply to Trangia:

Any  legal diversion would need notices at both ends - removing them would be an offence 

 Sam Beaton 25 Feb 2021
In reply to Bulls Crack:

> The OS were poised to run an project to digitise all Definitive Maps a few years ago but he funding was pulled

The National Street Gazeteer is now supposed to include all definitive map info as well as roads. Who is in charge of that and could they help with digitizing PROW data?

In reply to Sam Beaton:

The NSG doesn't include the Definitive Map sadly - another opportunity missed. There is some overlap on 'dual status' routes but I'm not entirely sure it covers all of an authorities' List of Streets 

 Sam Beaton 25 Feb 2021
In reply to Bulls Crack:

It doesn't now but I thought it was supposed to be working towards that. Have I got that wrong?

In reply to Sam Beaton:

The last revision by Geoplace was fairly recent but maybe next time - or the maybe OS  could have another go given the incentive.


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