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to wish that people would stick to footpaths and treat the countryside a little better?

(28 Posts)
BCBG Tue 30-Apr-13 18:57:24

I am probably going to get a flaming but I don't care, I am just so fed up! sad I appreciate just how lucky we are to live where we do, and part of that is a beautiful wooded hill with footpaths, one on the boundary, and one that dissects the wood - neither path comes anywhere near my garden or drive. When we bought the hill/wood, it was so overgrown and choked with brambles and elder that the nightingales that used to nest each Spring had long gone, and DH and I have spent what would have been my new kitchen on clearing the brambles and crap and generally restoring it. Now instead of inching through bramble walls, walkers can spread out a bit, the hill is beautiful again (although it takes a bit of maintenance, and best of all, the nightingales are back this Spring (as of this week smile ). Now don't get me wrong, I don't mind the walkers who tread lightly and wander a bit, but what gets my goat is the following:
* walkers who wander the quarter of a mile down to my house through a gate marked clearly as private and ask to be let through my garden 'because its quicker that way'
* walkers who cut a hole in the sheep fencing to let their dogs through - yes, regularly angry
*walkers who literally tread the old fences down to cross our drive rather than follow the footpaths which the council has clearly signed everywhere
* the plastic bottles, crisp bags and drinks cans which I have to collect and bin every week - we took 86 off the hill on our last big cleanup
* the family out to enjoy the countryside last Sunday whose bloody labradors and two little DCs quite literally trashed an entire bluebell slope by playing in them endlessly in circles
* anyone who gives me a mouthful when I politely suggest that they might head back up to the footpath
*the post GCSE kids who light fires, drink lots of vodka, and then burn their tents and sleeping bags, leaving broken glass and shit for me to collect at my leisure.

I love the hill, I love that others love it, but is it too much to ask that people treat it better? My best comment this week was 'didn't know it belonged to nobody' - that was from a 12 year old trying to chop down a silver birch with a wood axe.


NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 30-Apr-13 19:06:21

Yanbu. My sister lives in a similarly lovely's well off the beaten path but close to a very ancient church. People come to see the church and then wander around the woods...fine...but they also walk through her paddock and INTO her garden! It's obviously a private garden as it has a low fence and a big old gate....they try the gate and walk in if it's open!

She's often faced with ramblers who look at her like confused when she says they're in her garden....responses have included "Oh...we thought it was part of a farm..." erm...AND?? Also "May we buy something to eat and drink?"...erm....NO! This is a private home...not a cafe and you are not in an Enid Blyton book!

I suggested that she consider "doing teas" as a little earner but she's not keen. grin I think I would personally...the property is obviously attracting people in search of refreshment...odd because about 200 years ago there was an Inn on the site...she should whack a sign up "Cream teas this way!" pop them under a little shelter with a nice scone or three on a cake stand and a pot of tea or coffee...lovely...nice little earner.

There were also metal detecorists digging her path up...and people who took stones from the graveyard wall!

Justforlaughs Tue 30-Apr-13 19:09:32

Don't see any reason why you should get a flaming. Yes, you would be unreasonable to expect everyone to stay on the path but not to expect people to treat the countryside (and your private property) with respect.

BCBG Tue 30-Apr-13 19:22:14

I suppose the reason I expect a flaming is that the verbal abuse I encounter is really upsetting - I am actually quite shy and find it really difficult even to speak to wanderers - and I always start with a smile, and a 'can I help you?' greeting... I've been told I'm a fascist, that the right to roam means they can go where they like and I can't stop them, and I've had people shout in my face if I've asked them not to climb on top of the fences even when I've explained why it damages them/lets cattle and sheep out etc. sad

TeWiSavesTheDay Tue 30-Apr-13 19:26:58

What a horrible experience for you. Those arrogant Fuckers are absolutely in the wrong, the woods sound gorgeous and I'm sorry they (and you) aren't being treated better.

newfavouritething Tue 30-Apr-13 19:40:56

Justfor, why is it unreasonable to expect people to stay on the path? The path is there to get from a to b, not to give everyman and his dog easy access to private property? I don't trample through peoples gardens that are adjacent to footpaths in towns (although maybe I should start?).
One of the worst problems I had was some stupid people came into a field and pulled up the very carefully measured marker stakes (paid for gps etc) for their dog to play with. Idiots. And there wasn't even a footpath there, they just think they have a 'right to roam' everywhere they damn please.

Justforlaughs Tue 30-Apr-13 19:43:45

OP, do you actually OWN the hill? If so then YANBU to expect people to stick to the paths, I assumed that they were adjacent to your property.

BCBG Tue 30-Apr-13 19:49:28

Justforlaughs, yes, we own the hill, we bought it from the owner because it was terribly neglected (he was in his eighties and couldn't get up there any longer) and when we bought our house ten years ago the hill was full of nightingales every spring because of the gorse - this is one of the few big pockets of breeding ground left. DH and I wanted to restore it to do our bit. One path runs along the southern boundary of the hill. crossing from farmland into the streets on the edge of town. The other bisects the hill, from that path and running across into a much thicker and larger wood with no gorse or open grassland, where the owner has similar problems. His is a huge bluebell wood in Spring, but in the last few years the bluebells get trampled, even cycled through, and not infrequently, dug up!

Justforlaughs Tue 30-Apr-13 19:51:30

Sorry, I misread. Are the paths a right of way? I'm not sure of your legal rights but you are definately NOT being unreasonable

Sirzy Tue 30-Apr-13 19:54:10

Sounds like an idylic place to live, shame you have to put up with the idiots who pay no respect to their surroundings at all.

FreyaSnow Tue 30-Apr-13 19:54:34

So what are people's rights then, in private woodland?

BCBG Tue 30-Apr-13 19:54:41

Yes the paths are official footpaths and shown on maps etc. I have absolutely no problem with having the footpaths - they have been there for centuries.

VikingVagine Tue 30-Apr-13 19:58:46

Yanbu, my dad owns some lovely fields with a footpath running through, he put up a polite notice on the gate asking people to try and stick to the path, pick up thier dog's mess and to close the gates, someone kindly tagged the notice with various obscenities telling him where to go. Nice.

BCBG Tue 30-Apr-13 19:59:01

Freya, as far as I know, anyone can walk the footpaths. Dogs should be on a lead near livestock or nesting wildfowl (we have ducks on a large pond on the hill but no livestock). It is an offence to remove wildflowers or plants. I have to have Public Liability insurance to cover me in the event that a bough falls on someone's head or they slip into the pond and drown etc. The trees bushes plants land etc belong to us and are private property, with no access rights other than over the footpaths (public rights of way).

Peevish Tue 30-Apr-13 20:04:12

YANBU in the least. I'm not originally from the UK, and though I have lived in UK cities most of my adult life, am new to living in the countryside. I deeply appreciate the network of rights of way, walk a lot, and am very conscious of not abusing that privilege. It shocks me that people behave so badly. Having said that, not all landowners are so considerate. Some farmers near where I live don't remake paths after cultivating fields, and twice on a walk this weekend, I had to turn back and go a long way round because there were potentially volatile combinations of cows with young calves/ a bull/frisky bullocks in a field with a footpath through it.

SquinkiesRule Tue 30-Apr-13 20:13:45

I think you need signs near all entrances to the land saying that this is private property, be respectful, please keep to the footpaths and list other things too, like all dogs must be kept on a lead, no littering, no camping, don't remove anything type signs.

FreyaSnow Tue 30-Apr-13 20:22:07

I definitely think you need signs. A lot of people will do what they are told if it is made clear what the rules are.

apostropheuse Tue 30-Apr-13 20:24:01

Are you in Scotland or England as the rules are different?

In Scotland we are free to enter privately owned countryside. There are of course rules to follow, but you certainly don't have to stick to footpaths. We wouldn't be allowed to enter someone's private garden though. We can enter fields, but if there are crops growing we must go round the edge of the fields. We can cross golf courses, but mustn't interfere with play.

The land can be enjoyed responsibly, but nobody should be destroying things or leaving litter lying around. YANBU to be annoyed about that.

BCBG Tue 30-Apr-13 21:04:37

England. And we do have a few signs scattered about but IMO too many would rather spoil the view - I had a long argument with our insurers because they wanted me to put up Danger Deep water signs around the pond or fence it in, even though it is a) well away from the footpaths, b) used by livestock for water where it stretches into the farmer's fields and c)is one of many ponds around this very rural part of the UK hmm

Manchesterhistorygirl Tue 30-Apr-13 21:10:04

You are not being unreasonable! My parents own a farm, but dh and I run it and we have no end of trouble with issues such a you describe.

We're so lucky to have it and just expect it to be treated with respect for generations to come.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 30-Apr-13 21:12:25

Can you get some advice from the Wildlife Trust regarding this? Or some other rural support network? Maybe they've got good deterrent advice or strategies.

AnyoneforTurps Tue 30-Apr-13 21:15:00

YANBU and, as a keen walker, I hate idiots who behave like this - gives us all a bad name.

Ladyflip Tue 30-Apr-13 21:18:23

YANBU. DH is a dairy farmer. People sunbathing naked, shagging in hedgerows etc are amusing but other people are just rude and damaging.

I know its petty, but what annoys me are those who go off the footpath to pick all the blackberries, sloes and mushrooms which should be my treat as I have to live with the grumpy farmer for the rest of the year!

Silverlace Tue 30-Apr-13 21:26:33

YANBU. We have a farm with no footpaths but still get many unwelcome visitors who think they can do as they please from shooting wildlife with air rifles to having sex in their car on our drive at lunchtime! And don't get me started on fly tippers.

I understand what you say about not wanting to put up too many notices but so many people do not care about or understand the countryside that sometimes you need to spell it out to them.

It sounds like a really special place that needs to be looked after and you seem to be doing a great job with it.

AnyoneforTurps Tue 30-Apr-13 21:31:12

Also signs do help walkers find footpaths. I always try to stick to footpaths but sometimes it is really difficult, even with an OS map. I know some idiots will ignore signs but at least the walkers who are trying to be responsible will stick to the paths if they can find them.

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