Ramblers celebrate after landmark High Court ruling that could see up to 1,000 former rights of way re-open

The Ramblers Association said it was 'immensely pleased' following the judge's decision

Ian Johnston
Thursday 02 July 2015 01:54
Comments
File photo
File photo

Up to 1,000 rights of way could be re-established centuries after they stopped being recorded on maps after a landmark High Court ruling.

John Andrews, an area footpath secretary with the Ramblers Association, has tried for 22 years to reopen two bridleways in Crudwell, a village in the Cotswolds, after finding them marked on a map made in the early 19th century. Wiltshire County Council refused to restore them to the official modern map of rights of way and a Government inspector later upheld the decision.

However the Master of the Rolls, Lord Dyson, decided on Wednesday that they had both been wrong and that the two paths were legally rights of way, The Daily Telegraph reported.

And he suggested the ruling could have a widespread impact across the countryside.

“We have been told there are believed to be between 500 and 1,000 cases in England and Wales where public footpaths and bridleways set out and appointed by commissioners are not currently recorded in the relevant definitive maps,” Lord Dyson told the Court of Appeal.

The two Crudwell bridleways were laid out by land commissioner, Daniel Trinder, in the early 1800s during the time when large areas of common land were being enclosed and divided up into privately owned plots.

Lord Dyson decided that under the 1801 Inclosure Consolidation Act, Mr Trinder had the authority to “set out and appoint” rights of way.

Jonathan Blanch, 68, a farmer who owns the land the paths run across, said the ruling was “dire”.

“This is arable land but you’re not allowed to spray over footpaths, so the fields will have to be split up,” he told the Telegraph.

“My gut feeling is they have used this as a test case so they can now go and trouble hundreds of other farms in the same way.”

Following the judge’s decision, the Ramblers Association said it was “immensely pleased”.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in