Small Woodland Owners' Group

Narky locals.

Paperwork, grants, legal issues

Postby jennysmate » Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:01 pm

I havent had any problems with tresspasers, maybe because theres a woodland trust wood and a county park close to my wood.

Perhaps if the tresspasers can't grasp the concept of private property you could find out where they live and walk in their garden, maybe pick some of their flowers and let your dog run free.

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Postby greyman » Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:26 pm


This is the tack we took with a couple who decided that our wood was just the right sort of place to let 7 very large dogs loose - It took me about 20 - 30 mins to convince them that they had no right to be there and that I was in fact able to own woodland and say who can and can't come in it. I did ask quite nicely if they wouldn't bring their dogs in the wood and that it was no different to them having their back garden and how would they feel if I came and walked round with my dogs (we don't have any but that is not the point)

We've tried to be discrete with our signs but they have been torn down several times - usually shortly after we have had to remonstrate with the same couple who try to use the "We've rung the council and they say we can walk anywhere there is a path" reason for why they think they have the right to walk anywhere they choose. They have even been told by a couple of others that they should not be off the Public footpath - this has occasioned a bit of belligerence on their part and a certain amount of leaning forward and spreading of shoulders in the strutting dance of a male put on the spot!

Ho Hum!

Trouble is it seems that most woodland is seen as common property due to the long time most of it was owned by disinterested estates and companies - when no one's around to say "sorry you can't be here" I suspect the land is slowly assumed to be 'public access'.

Well, whining on here won't sort it - I'm off to clean my blunderbuss and man traps!


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Postby Kentish Man » Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:57 pm

I think Greyman, you have touched on something there - most non-woodland owning people may even tend to just think the woodland is there for everyone to enjoy - in fact, I'm still a little stunned in thinking that its possible to buy woodlands at all, such is the relative oddity of owning various parts of what is simply the surface of the planet! How did ownership of land ever begin?, is the question perhaps behind such attitutdes and you may need to forgive those who genuinely have never thought that the woods may actually belong to someone in particular.

After all, Nature doesn't really belong to anyone and people may assume that because some woodlands look totally wild and natural, nobody can really own it.

Its quite an interesting topic to try to extrapolate out what is and what isn't crazy about both sides of the private/public ownership debate of land. However, once its clear that money has been paid and deeds are legally logged with the highest authorities in the land, then people do not have the right, except only philosophically speaking, to question ownership. This is also probably where the conflicts with Romany families, etc enter the debate.

One thing's for sure, I'm very jealous that you all own your own woods! And jealousy may also go some way to explaining a lot of attitudes out there - the haves and have-nots, etc, etc...

Kentish Man
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Postby MartinD » Tue Nov 17, 2009 11:04 pm

Kentish Man - there's no simple answer to this. I bought my wood in the knowledge that there was a public footpath running through it. I have got the council to properly waymark it, and I point out to people who are straying from the path that there is no public right of way in that part of the woodland, without falling out with them. I point out that I have paid money for the woodland, and that I am putting a lot of effort into bringing the woodland back to life. I explain the goal of the woodland improvement grant, and what it will look like when complete (the first 5 years, at least!) Relatively few people were straying from the path, but I have found that after 12 months ownership that I now have almost none. The biggest 'offenders' are now my eyes and ears for when I am not there, and tell me anything they think I should know (they saw a couple of youths with air rifles one weekend a couple of months ago, for example, and told me about it). My woodland is close to an urban area, but I can understand others who have bought woodland in isolated areas, and who might expect more privacy. As a walker, I can also understand your view about access to the countryside - I tend to follow 'paths' through other parts of the woods, even though I know that they are not public rights of way. One worry about countryside landowners generally is that if you don't object to people using a path that it will eventually become a right of way, but the deposition mentioned above should make that less of a concern.

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Postby Kentish Man » Tue Nov 17, 2009 11:55 pm

That's another good point raised - the people with the airgun for example - highlights that many people chose to go into woodlands in the first place to get away from society and rules and civilisation for an hour or two. The rebellious streak is in all of us from time to time and apparently limiting that appearance of freedom by telling people they can't do this and that and go here or there, wrongly or rightly I'm sure, does wind some people up the wrong way. I guess woodland owners just need to be aware of those attitudes and make either natural impenetrable areas, hidden paths, etc in order to hope such people pass on by or at least aren't given too much of a focus on which to latch their attention onto (no entry signs, signs of human activity in an area - tracks, log piles, fencing, sheds, etc).

Kentish Man
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Postby Exeldama » Wed Nov 18, 2009 12:39 am

Some lovely thoughts there. im slightly obsessed with Brash so i think thats the best option. i dont get to see the perpertrators, sneaky toads as they are.

I have spoken very nicely to most of the dog walkers as they walked the permissive track when i first purchased. Most were nice to my face, but you could detect an atmosphere of hostility. one lady actuall told me she was rich and could have bought the lot (300acres ) but decided to buy a spare house in France instead.

i must take deep breaths and smile before burying said people in alarge pit full of squirrels.

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Postby wood troll » Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:28 am

Poor squirrels (even if they are gray ones!)

Don't have any problems here in this part of France, though it is very rural and have a fence all around.

wood troll

wood troll
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Postby James M » Fri Nov 20, 2009 11:54 am

Ownership of land didn't exist as an idea before William the Conqeuror (spelling?) arrived on the beach one day to invade and said "Right! All this is mine!"

Since then all land has had an odd legal status - people talk about owning it - in fact the own the right to certain things on it. How can the first person who claimed ownership justify using force to to deny anyone else the same rights? That's why we have title deeds not ownership deeds.

Legally, I think the crown still functionally owns Britain (that's why they can stop us building things in our woods) even though on the face of it 'we' own it.

All you truly own are your own ideas.

James M
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Postby RichardKing » Fri Nov 20, 2009 5:21 pm

So you are one of those who believe that we, the formerly free Anglo-Saxons still labour under "the Norman Yoke" ?

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Postby John H » Fri Nov 20, 2009 5:24 pm

When we bought our woods from the FC they stipulated there was open access, we did not see this as too much of a problem, there not being that many dog walkers in rural Wales. I notice that on the latest OS maps that there are marked with Open Access icons. There is however no public right of way marked showing the public how they can access them!

I have only ever met one dog walker there and as far as I am concerned he walks on water, he's a mobile agricultural engineer and helps keep my old machinery running smoothly !!

We do get the local hunt come through a couple of times a year but this is not a problem.


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