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to take a few twigs and sprigs from the woods?

(30 Posts)
OstentatiousBreastfeeder Tue 16-Dec-14 13:35:15

I'm feeling festive, so decided to make a wreath instead of buying one for the front door. I have a woods nearby my house so thought it would be a perfect place to find everything I need for free.

So out I go, thinking ahh lovely, nice morning stroll in the woods with DD - she can nap and I can amble around and pick some nice sprigs of holly and ivy.

About 20 minutes into our foraging a dogwalker saw me snipping some ivy that was hanging down from a tree. I smiled and said good morning, as you do. She frowned, then strode over to me and proceeded to tell me off for stealing cuttings from the woods, which is council property, before stomping off with her dog and muttering loudly. She seemed really irate and was quite rude even though I told her I was only taking what I intended to use hmm

I was under the impression it was perfectly legal to take things home from the woods with you, bar some wildflowers which I believe have some sort of protection. I didn't think a bit of holly and ivy fell under this category.


(the wreath looks very pretty btw!)

MelanieCheeks Tue 16-Dec-14 13:43:31

Well, what would it be like if everyone did that?

I think she's tehcnically correct, though could have been nicer about it. And as you say, some of the woodland flora could be protected - do you know which things to avoid? Does everyone else?

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 16-Dec-14 13:48:37

You can pick up what has fallen on the ground, not snip from trees.

OstentatiousBreastfeeder Tue 16-Dec-14 13:49:35

The wood is HUUGE and ivy covers every inch of it, and the holly bushes are as tall as the trees in some places. I suppose it wouldn't be good if everyone starting taking bits away... but is it illegal?

BadgersInTheSlurryLagoon Tue 16-Dec-14 13:51:48

Theft Act 1968 (Section 4 subsection 3)

(3) A person who picks mushrooms growing wild on any land, or who picks flowers, fruit or foliage from a plant wild on any land, does not (although not in possession of the land) steal what he picks, unless he does it for reward or for sale or other commercial purpose. For purposes of this subsection �mushroom� includes any fungus, and �plant� includes any shrub or tree.

I believe this only applies to land to which you have a right of access, ie commons and footpaths etc. Clearly byelaws can modify this to prevent people decimating public parks and suchlike though.

Disclaimer: I have no legal training, just looked that up when having a similar debate recently. I'm lucky enough to have all the ivy I could ever want growing up my house - feel free to come and cut some of that off, you'd be doing me a favour smile

HesterShaw Tue 16-Dec-14 13:52:16

Oh come on. IVY? It's not like she was digging up wild orchids.

One of our Christmas treats was always a holly expedition OP. I have no idea if it is illegal.

BadgersInTheSlurryLagoon Tue 16-Dec-14 13:53:45

Although there are some protected species that you may not pick:

CheeseBuster Tue 16-Dec-14 13:53:58

It's the same as taking flowers from roundabouts isn't it really?

OstentatiousBreastfeeder Tue 16-Dec-14 14:04:57

People take flowers from roundabouts?! shock

Is it the same thing, really? Nobody's deliberately bought and planted the ivy, it just grows, and the bit I lopped off will grow back within a couple of weeks probably.

MehsMum Tue 16-Dec-14 14:06:13

Ivy is a weed, really: it can completely overwhelm trees and is very hard to get rid of (I'm bitter, I have spent hours of my life up a ladder removing ivy from tiles and gutters).

I think you met a very odd dog walker. I wouldn't take ivy from a park in a town (because, as Melanie said, what if everyone did it?) But a large wood with acres of ivy? I really wouldn't worry. Enjoy your wreath (I made one too).

MehsMum Tue 16-Dec-14 14:07:01

PS Its more like taking dandelions from roundabouts fgrin

NoisyOyster Tue 16-Dec-14 14:07:25

Bah humbug to the other woman op, every year I go to my local woods armed with secateurs and a bag; haven't noticed any reduction in the plants over the last decade fgrin

Hairtodaygonetomorrow Tue 16-Dec-14 14:09:17

I don't think it is at all the same as paid for and deliberately planted flowers being removed. Ivy is plentiful, free and if in the woods, it won't make any difference if removed. I also think it's fine to pick blackberries in the woods, even wild flowers such as daisies if in a huge meadow and it's a couple.

Namechangeyetagaintohide Tue 16-Dec-14 14:15:52

doesn't appear to be illegal

Namechangeyetagaintohide Tue 16-Dec-14 14:17:56

It's not the same as taking planted flowers from roundabouts. That is illegal.

QuinnTwinny Tue 16-Dec-14 14:19:57

You are doing the world a favour. Ivy is a bloody menace. Spent thousands having our back wall repaired because the people on the other side never maintained their ivy and it pushed through and destroyed it. angry

HesterShaw Tue 16-Dec-14 14:21:06

There you are OP. You're doing the world a favour.

Ignore the nasty walking lady grin

OstentatiousBreastfeeder Tue 16-Dec-14 14:21:21

Ah-ha! So it's legal.

I can now stop feeling guilty about it blush

Namechangeyetagaintohide Tue 16-Dec-14 14:25:48

Indeed ��

DeckTheHoopsWithBoughsOfHolly Tue 16-Dec-14 14:27:17

Oh no! I'm a hardened criminal! Not only do I take cuttings to make wreaths, but I also pick blackberries and mushrooms and collect chestnuts too.

Should I hand myself in or go on the run?

MarchEliza Tue 16-Dec-14 14:34:58

I actually always assumed that this was a bit naughty (a bit like picking wild flowers) but I have been know to surreptitiously pinch a bit of ivy and holly that grows like topsey in the woods near me.

Glad to read that I might not have been doing anything so bad after all!

Namechangeyetagaintohide Tue 16-Dec-14 14:35:55

Sorry deck bit nope. You aren't doing anything illegal.

TheChandler Tue 16-Dec-14 14:39:55

Its not theft, a de minimus rule applies (in other words, common sense - if you aren't doing it as part of a business but just take what you need for personal use), then its fine. A good rule is taking no more than you can carry.

Busybody woman ought to be reported herself for harassing you...

Fallingovercliffs Tue 16-Dec-14 14:46:53

She should have butted out. You were snipping a bit of ivy from a tree, the week before Christmas, not galvanising a class full of kids to strip the wood bare of beautiful wildflowers.

Pootles2010 Tue 16-Dec-14 14:50:45

Ivy's fine i'd say, but Holly is very different as it's endangered in the wild I believe.

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