Small Woodland Owners' Group

Narky locals.

Paperwork, grants, legal issues

Postby FrankBagnal » Wed Nov 25, 2009 4:32 pm

I think that psychological barriers that make it harder for people to wander into land are the way to go, including brash, encouraging brambles etc, leaving felled tree crowns as obstacles, and light fencing - even 50m of plastic deer fencing stretched between trees across a likely entrance. Ideally, make it so there is only one easy way in and out, as that makes it harder to walk through the wood and raises the apparent risk they'll be forced into a confrontation with you if it turns out you're there. Thieves and yobs aside, most people can be shamed into stopping doing something if they are confronted enough. Even if they are all mouth at the time, most will think again if they anticipate another embarrassing experience next time.

"This is my land. You are disturbing me and the wildlife. You have no business here. This is not on a route to anywhere else. Now go back the way you came in."

We can't build fortresses to keep them out, but as DuncanB has shown, it can be minimised. And this is our private land that we've paid for, and we shouldn't be in any way apologetic about our right to privacy on it.


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Postby James M » Thu Nov 26, 2009 6:11 pm

I bought mine because it gave me the right to do things I wanted to do there. Chop down trees, sell wood, shoot, build things. Plus its an investment.

I can't see how I can pick up a rock and claim to 'own' it - I didn't make it, nor did the people I bought the woods off, nor any human. Yet I 'own' it, based on a) someone in the past decided it was THEIRS and used the threat of force the keep it that way.

How can it make sense to say I own a tree - I didn't make the seed and it grew itself.

The whole system only works because everyone wants to own something, and the only way they can is to agree to give up their rights to what other people 'own'. People divvy up the planet like it was their idea and they made it.

The rights we inherit, or buy, only exist becasue powerful people a long time ago decided they wanted to own stuff, and stop other people using it, and had private armies to enforce it.

Still, the law says I own, in a manner of speaking, a piece of the planet earth and though I can't see morally or semantically how that can possibly be the case, so I get to do what I want because of it so I'm not complaining.

The Roe Deer bucks do the same thing except they kill tresspasers - so do they own it as well? Theye were there before me. Perhaps we should have a fight the death, the deer and me, and the hardest gets the land, because that's what ownership is based on.

I don't mind people wandering through at all. Just like I dont mind people wandering down the road past my front door.

I tried to get into the Julien May book when I was 18, the print was too small and it looked like hard work so I gave up.

James M
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Postby FrankBagnal » Thu Nov 26, 2009 9:02 pm

The world eventually falls into the hands of the people who don't mind hard work and reading the small print.


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Postby greyman » Thu Nov 26, 2009 11:38 pm


Have you looked at your profile lately.....


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Postby docsquid » Fri Nov 27, 2009 5:14 pm

We had a lot of problems with trespassing when we took ownership. The wood had been neglected for about 20 years and there were ways in where the fence had been removed/trampled. People were going in poaching, shooting trees (leaving horrible wounds in the surface), and walking dogs. The wood doesn't lead anywhere but they still did it. There is no right of way in the wood.

After we took ownership we did make sure that the fence was repaired and that people could see it was privately-owned. We put signs up showing it was being managed as a nature reserve, and by and large people respected it.

However, we have made efforts to ensure that people can see what we are doing. We run open days when people from the local community can visit, come round, look, photograph, walk and enjoy. We have gradually built up support and they respect the times when they can't come, knowing that they will be able to come and see the wood on a regular basis, and enjoy the bluebells and other plants and wildlife through the year. They can see it looks nicer and it is an asset to the whole community.

We've also visited the local travellers camp on several occasions, and talked about plans with them and make sure we invite them to the open day. They don't come, although I suspect they do still pay informal visits, but they actually respect wildlife more than you would realise, and I don't see evidence of damage from them at all.

We have had people trying to break into our building and fly-tipping problems, but I think our softly-softly approach has helped. Plus if we are there and people look over the gate we make a point of talking to them, and sometimes do impromptu tours.

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Postby James M » Sat Nov 28, 2009 7:30 pm

Ah Greyman! I've been impressed before by the sheer quality of your web detective work. Amazing what you can find out :-) Having had my compulsive hypocrisy exposed I have now updated my profile to say I only think I own my land, but that the Queen probably does. I have never seen her there hefting logs around though. If she turns up telling me that she owns in and not me I will be sure to tell her that I have the right to roam in her woods. As long as I dont disturb her peace of mind or interfere with her lawful activites I'm sure we'll get on fine.

She can pick up her own empty Stella Artois bottles though.


James M
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Postby greyman » Sun Nov 29, 2009 10:31 am

I detect (but not from detectering on the net!) a tongue firmly in the cheeck JamesM! I wasn't waggling a pointy type stick, honest. Vexing as it is, life is I am sure, infintely more interesting for all the differing views, thoughts and opinions and although I might bristle at how people think of thier 'rights' I'd fight for that 'right', right?

Any road up, I'm hoping to set forth, fith and sixth out into the blue patched skyeded day and see our soggy collection of arborial specimins and see how much debris the stream has brought us this weekend. If I meet the Queen I'll say Hi from you - shall I mention the Stella bottles?


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Postby jennysmate » Sun Nov 29, 2009 11:38 am

According to a tv prog. I saw last night, the queen has no title to our monarchy anyway. So who knows who really owns our woods.

Maybe whoever looks after the wood, should have the biggest claim on its ownership.

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Postby Exeldama » Sun Nov 29, 2009 1:35 pm

Ok we have established that in reality ownership is little more than a way to express an idea which probably doesnt technically exist other than through force of arms/law or influence.

But the fact is we either say, no-one owns anything (or at least has a right to) or they do. If we dont then all hell would break loose as humans are pretty self serving and as such ... i shall come to your woods and chop all your trees down and sell them, after all they arnt yours.

I will then dam your rivers and generate some power and if you arnt happy tough, im probably bigger than you.

You can keep the paths clear,keep the deer under control and take out the insurance i dont need to it isnt my land.

Humans like many animals seek to accrue resources. Land is but one of those things , the fact that we no-longer rely on it to survive (this country at least).. we have stepped aside from the natural rythm of life, we stand alone and as such make decsision beyond survival... mine is "I own this, dont be a prat and ignore my notice or else i will throw you in a ditch and bury you in leaf mould".

My experience is that people often want all the rights without the responsibility, that way if adopted by the majority leads to a complete mess, and ultimatley anachary which wouldnt be that bad for me as im still big enough to take my share by force, but my Nan would struggle .. (particularily as she is now dead).

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Postby Toby Allen » Mon Nov 30, 2009 9:40 pm

Thats the way of the world, it used to be owned by the bloke with the biggest stick, then the bloke with the biggest army, now it's the one with the biggest wallet.

Toby Allen
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