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Thread: Question ref access?

  1. #1

    Default Question ref access?

    Hi All, I just went to go for a paddle on a local river in south wales Ewenny, I intended to use a public footpath which crosses the river by ewenny priory as i approached the river the local landowner / care taker approached me an told me i could not paddle down the river, as it was privately owned, i told him he ownes the land but not the water and it if it is navigable then i have every right to paddle on it. He told us that he had birds on the river and if we scared them off then we could be held responsible i was expecting them to be a rare breed but when i asked what birds he told me they were ducks!! now i am fairly new to this canoeing lark and unfortunatley i do not know enough about the law as to whether i could canoe or not, any ideas? needless to say he drove off but i did not get to have a paddle as my friend did not want to risk it.

    cheers

    Paul

  2. #2
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    Hi,
    Short answer, Yes you are allowed to canoe there. I frequently canoe on rivers that have no specific navigation act or agreement.

    Long answer, the Rev. Caffyn's research shows that since pre Roman times all navigable rivers are open to anyone who wants to navigate them, and the Magna Carta and 1472 Weirs and Fishgarths Act state this is allowed. The relevent sections of these laws have never been cancelled or replaced, so are still in force. However, although those that disagree with this arguement have been unable to produce any evidence or legal objections, it has never been tested in court. I suggest you read the main threads in the access section of forum, but you do seem to understand the basics already and you have experienced some of the rubbish arguements that will be used to try and stop you canoeing.

    I think the only thing that you may have done that is not strictly allowed is trying to launch from a public footpath. Technically the only thing you are allowed to do on a footpath is to walk along it to get from A to B. Stopping for a picnic or to launch a canoe or for any other reason could be considered trespass. Although in many locations launching from a footpath will not cause problems, just try not to cause any damage to the river bank and you shouldn't have any problems.

    Just get out there and canoe.
    Good luck, Barney

  3. #3
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    Hi,

    This sort of thing goes on all the time and shows shows no-one in a good light. I'm guessing that was an angler or bailiff shooing you off "his" stretch of water. There is no easy answer at the moment, except be polite and avoid confrontation.
    If it had been me I would have paddled after he drove off.

    I'm primarily an angler BTW.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barney View Post
    Hi,

    I think the only thing that you may have done that is not strictly allowed is trying to launch from a public footpath. Technically the only thing you are allowed to do on a footpath is to walk along it to get from A to B. Stopping for a picnic or to launch a canoe or for any other reason could be considered trespass.
    I agree with your comments but I think we need to be careful on the words used about 'trespass'. If this is a public path (i.e. owned by the highways agency), then trespass would be as defiend by them rather than adjoining landowner / ghillie / etc. and is "entry to a person’s land or property without permission". As a public path is owned by the 'State', my own opinion is that I can use a public footpath as I like providing I do no damage, etc.
    Death is natures way of telling you to slow down.

  5. #5

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    Just do it!

    If he gets agro, then he is commiting an offence,under section five and could be arrested for making you feel uneasy!

    If it comes to it, sit down on 'his' land and say "this is now my home and you are now breaking the law, get out of my home" Tell him he now needs to get an eviction order if he wants you to vacate your new home

    It just comes down to strength of will....

    Trust me, it DOES work!

  6. #6
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    Default P,f,l,o,p

    Quote Originally Posted by wavecloud View Post
    Just do it!

    If he gets agro, then he is commiting an offence,under section five and could be arrested for making you feel uneasy!

    If it comes to it, sit down on 'his' land and say "this is now my home and you are now breaking the law, get out of my home" Tell him he now needs to get an eviction order if he wants you to vacate your new home

    It just comes down to strength of will....

    Trust me, it DOES work!
    I agree, what we have to do is 'keep calm,and paddle on',any one who try's to stop you,is only using their

    own will to turn back the tide, you just need to be stubborn !,you can even tell them to whistle Dixie,they

    may own the river bed, but remember,they do not own the water,or the air above.

    I know it is said 'we should be the adults', but really in my head I am 11,and a 16 stone middle age youth

    is always hard to deal with, have fun.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxiP View Post
    If this is a public path (i.e. owned by the highways agency), .........
    Public footpaths are not owned by the state. They are owned by the person that owns the land over which they pass but are subject to public rights (just like rivers!)

    Technically the only thing you are allowed to do on a footpath is to walk along it to get from A to B. Stopping for a picnic or to launch a canoe or for any other reason could be considered trespass.
    There have been interpretations of the law in the past which have sought to make activities like sketching and picnicking beyond the mere passing and repassing which is the strict public right on any public highway or footpath.

    Fortunately, the law is not just what landowners want it to be. This judgement by the House of Lords makes it very clear what the law is now and sets a binding legal precedent that can only be overridden by the Supreme Court or a new Act of Parliament.

    "Nor can I attribute any hard core of meaning to a test which would limit lawful use of the highway to what is incidental or ancillary to the right of passage. In truth very little activity could accurately be described as "ancillary" to passing along the highway; perhaps stopping to tie one's shoe lace, consulting a street-map, or pausing to catch one's breath. But I do not think that such ordinary and usual activities as making a sketch, taking a photograph, handing out leaflets, collecting money for charity, singing carols, playing in a Salvation Army band, children playing a game on the pavement, having a picnic, or reading a book, would qualify. These examples illustrate that to limit lawful use of the highway to that which is literally "incidental or ancillary" to the right of passage would be to place an unrealistic and unwarranted restriction on commonplace day-to-day activities. The law should not make unlawful what is commonplace and well accepted."

    Just be reasonable and don't obstruct or interfere with other peoples reasonable rights and expectations.
    Last edited by KeithD; 27th-July-2012 at 11:30 AM. Reason: The judgement was by the House of Lords not the Court of Appeal
    Keith

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by wavecloud View Post
    Just do it!

    If he gets agro, then he is commiting an offence,under section five and could be arrested for making you feel uneasy!

    If it comes to it, sit down on 'his' land and say "this is now my home and you are now breaking the law, get out of my home" Tell him he now needs to get an eviction order if he wants you to vacate your new home

    It just comes down to strength of will....

    Trust me, it DOES work!
    Confrontational - and likely to either cause more problems or spoil it for other paddlers (IMO).
    Keith ^ has it right.

  9. #9

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    Not really, if you do it politely....

    It renders them pretty much speechless

    When I have done this in the past, they virtually shut up and just walk away, leaving you to your own business.

    If every body did this, then, land owners, ghillies, bailifs, whatever, would just give up.
    Last edited by wavecloud; 27th-July-2012 at 10:14 AM.

  10. #10
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    When the landowner put the ducks on the water he was putting them into a semi public area, if they are disturbed then it is his responsibility. For him to take any action he must show he has total legal control over the area including navigation, as we know he is most unlikely to be able to do this. It is obviously a ploy to deter people and it worked because you did not paddle, don't let him get away with it, I would go back and complete the paddle.
    "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men"
    Grp Cpt Sir Douglas Bader CBE,DSO,DFC,FRAeS.

  11. #11

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    I would go back and complete the paddle.
    Me too

    He obviously is a bully and needs to be put in his place!

  12. #12

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    As for the Ducks.......

    I like them crispy and aromatic

  13. #13
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    Just to put his silly threat into context, are there any waterways that we paddle that don't have ducks on them. If he had a case then all waterways would be shut including the Thames.
    "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men"
    Grp Cpt Sir Douglas Bader CBE,DSO,DFC,FRAeS.

  14. #14

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    Most ducks these days are actually cross breeds and need culling anyway, as they are threat to native species.

    There are all kinds of freakish ducks around our bit of the Thames.

  15. #15
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    Public footpath is not the same as a public right of way so need to be clear on whop the landowner is.
    Death is natures way of telling you to slow down.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxiP View Post
    Public footpath is not the same as a public right of way so need to be clear on whop the landowner is.
    Public rights have precedence over the private rights of the landowner so it doesn't make any difference who "owns" the footpath, the public rights on a public footpath are the same.
    Keith

  17. #17

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    There's nothing new under the sun...

    "WE stopped under the willows by Kempton Park, and lunched. It is a pretty little spot there: a pleasant grass plateau, running along by the water’s edge, and overhung by willows. We had just commenced the third course – the bread and jam – when a gentleman in shirt-sleeves and a short pipe came along, and wanted to know if we knew that we were trespassing. We said we hadn’t given the matter sufficient consideration as yet to enable us to arrive at a definite conclusion on that point, but that, if he assured us on his word as a gentleman that we WERE trespassing, we would, without further hesitation, believe it.

    He gave us the required assurance, and we thanked him, but he still hung about, and seemed to be dissatisfied, so we asked him if there was anything further that we could do for him; and Harris, who is of a chummy disposition, offered him a bit of bread and jam.
    I fancy he must have belonged to some society sworn to abstain from bread and jam; for he declined it quite gruffly, as if he were vexed at being tempted with it, and he added that it was his duty to turn us off.
    Harris said that if it was a duty it ought to be done, and asked the man what was his idea with regard to the best means for accomplishing it. Harris is what you would call a well-made man of about number one size, and looks hard and bony, and the man measured him up and down, and said he would go and consult his master, and then come back and chuck us both into the river.
    Of course, we never saw him any more, and, of course, all he really wanted was a shilling. There are a certain number of riverside roughs who make quite an income, during the summer, by slouching about the banks and blackmailing weak-minded noodles in this way. They represent themselves as sent by the proprietor. The proper course to pursue is to offer your name and address, and leave the owner, if he really has anything to do with the matter, to summon you, and prove what damage you have done to his land by sitting down on a bit of it. But the majority of people are so intensely lazy and timid, that they prefer to encourage the imposition by giving in to it rather than put an end to it by the exertion of a little firmness.
    Where it is really the owners that are to blame, they ought to be shown up. The selfishness of the riparian proprietor grows with every year. If these men had their way they would close the river Thames altogether. They actually do this along the minor tributary streams and in the backwaters. They drive posts into the bed of the stream, and draw chains across from bank to bank, and nail huge notice-boards on every tree. The sight of those notice-boards rouses every evil instinct in my nature. I feel I want to tear each one down, and hammer it over the head of the man who put it up, until I have killed him, and then I would bury him, and put the board up over the grave as a tombstone.
    I mentioned these feelings of mine to Harris, and he said he had them worse than that. He said he not only felt he wanted to kill the man who caused the board to be put up, but that he should like to slaughter the whole of his family and all his friends and relations, and then burn down his house. This seemed to me to be going too far, and I said so to Harris; but he answered:
    “Not a bit of it. Serve `em all jolly well right, and I’d go and sing comic songs on the ruins.”
    I was vexed to hear Harris go on in this blood-thirsty strain. We never ought to allow our instincts of justice to degenerate into mere vindictiveness. It was a long while before I could get Harris to take a more Christian view of the subject, but I succeeded at last, and he promised me that he would spare the friends and relations at all events, and would not sing comic songs on the ruins."

    From 'Three Men in a Boat' by Jerome K. Jerome.

  18. #18
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    Just to add to the info above.

    Ducks and many other birds have finished their breeding now and cannot be used as a means keeping people off land or water.

    I love the extract from "Three Men in a Boat" that Pam Bell posted and it shows how little has changed over the years.

    I shall have to learn the wording for next time I am challenged for trass. I must admit to having feelings such as those expressed at the end of the passage but I too would spare the relatives and friends and would refrain from singing comic songs on the ruins.

    Doug
    Last edited by dougoutcanoe; 28th-July-2012 at 12:43 AM.
    When there's trouble on shore, there's peace on the wave,
    Afloat in the White Canoe.
    Alan Sullivan


  19. #19
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  20. #20

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    Thanks All, Think i will be going back for a paddle!!

  21. #21

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    Do it Boss!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by phj123 View Post
    Thanks All, Think i will be going back for a paddle!!
    On a waterway that may lead to some one telling you in the style of Capt Mannering,that you are in the wrong,

    go with a pall armed with a camera, then you have evidence of any tedious behaviour by those who would oppose

    your right full passage,they always seem to ask 'where are you going'and 'where are you from ?',I always throw

    as much confusion into any answers I give as possible. Happy paddling !

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