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Neighbour stole our woodland?

(983 Posts)
TwittleBee Sun 27-Jan-19 07:00:13

Our DGrandad left me and my sister his woodland when he passed away a few years ago. It isn't anything that special (as in its not protected and hasn't any distinguished species) but does have a TPO on a couple of trees. It is a place that my sister and I visit occasionally and thought that perhaps we could use it as a place to "wild camp" with the kids this summer for a few weekends. Even had insipiration from what George Clark created in a piece of woodland in his series Amazing Spaces and thought maybe one day with enough money we could do the same.

Anyway, we went down there this weekend to have a look to see if we could maybe clear a patch for a good tent destination, Thought it be good to do this now before everything starts flourishing in the spring.

To our shock it's all been fenced off and there has been some very obvious clearing of trees and shrubs! We knocked on the nearest house to ask what's happened to our woodland and the couple that lived there informed us that they have now taken it as their own and have started keeping it in order for past couple months. They said that it now makes our land legally theirs?

Obviously we shall be seeking legal advice but in the meantime, can what they claim actually be correct?

Just seems so unfair? Surely that would mean I could just fence off any land and claim it as my own?

underneaththeash Sun 27-Jan-19 07:34:22

I think they win today's CF award! You need a solicitors letter, but you also need to inform them that they are paying for the costs of having the trees repaired.

I would also go over today and regain possession. Just remove the section of fence that you need to gain access.

user789653241 Sun 27-Jan-19 07:37:39

Yes, I have heard this happened to someone, but not in a short period of time. It was left untouched for years by rightful owners.
I would speak to lawyer asap.

Raindancer411 Sun 27-Jan-19 07:37:42

If you do go and make access, check with police for advice as the people may try to say criminal damage (although as sure the police won't get involved and say it's a civil issue)

comebacksoonsusan Sun 27-Jan-19 07:40:01

Lawyer. Cheeky cunts.

Bringbackthestripes Sun 27-Jan-19 07:45:50

shock they can’t just claim it as theirs after that short space of time. When you say DGF passed away a few years ago, how long is a few years? Just wondering how many years you have owned it compared to how long they will claim they have looked after it. When did you last visit it and see it was unclaimed by them?
Total CF!

NicoAndTheNiners Sun 27-Jan-19 07:52:32

We had this happen to us. Local crazy farmer decided to try and pinch a field we owned. Put a shed up on it and I think a fence. SIL went with the quad bike and demolished the fence and shed. Farmer went loopy. She then showed him the deeds proving it was ours and he shut up. No need for a solicitor.

Personally I wouldn't be nice about it and I wouldn't waste money on a solicitor and I would do something (ie, smash the fence down) today. I'd want them to get the message very quickly that you're not to be messed with.

NicoAndTheNiners Sun 27-Jan-19 07:53:53

Oh and the farmer did try going to the police and accusing sil of criminal damage who were totally uninterested. grin

billybagpuss Sun 27-Jan-19 07:55:46

Wow, just wow. Let us know what you decide to do.

Workissueshelp Sun 27-Jan-19 07:56:19

Omg! Solicitors first thing Monday.

Mylovelies Sun 27-Jan-19 07:58:57

Cool, you've got the Deeds? End of story. Letter from you or your solicitor, should be the end of it. Bless you tho', super stressy.

Oblomov19 Sun 27-Jan-19 07:59:16

I think you can attack this 3 ways.
1)Trying to find out for free as much legal side as you can from internet, free advice centre etc.
2)Please speak to the council aswell. ASAP. It never does any harm to have them on your side, alongside any
3)lawyer advice, which let's be honest is always the most expensive option.

ragged Sun 27-Jan-19 07:59:23

We need a timeline, OP. When did your grand-dad die?

Oblomov19 Sun 27-Jan-19 08:01:12

And I'd go back ASAP and take some photos, for evidence.

EggysMom Sun 27-Jan-19 08:01:38

We knocked on the nearest house to ask what's happened to our woodland and the couple that lived there informed us that they have now taken it as their own and have started keeping it in order for past couple months.

Presumably you responded with "Er, no, you can't do that" ? How did you respond to them.

LittleScottieDog Sun 27-Jan-19 08:01:58

The law as I know it is as others have stated: 10 years and no legal owner coming forward. One of my friends is hoping to claim land next to their house but they've been waiting since they moved in about 7 years ago. If someone comes forward to claim it they'll have to give it up (which would be annoying as theirs is the only house in the vicinity and the land is right next to their house).

These neighbours are complete CFs!

Ifailed Sun 27-Jan-19 08:02:47

OP, you can camp out on your own land for 28 days in any year.

candlefloozy Sun 27-Jan-19 08:04:29

Can't you just go back and tell them you have the deeds etc? Didn't you tell them that?

NicolaStart Sun 27-Jan-19 08:04:54

“If someone comes forward to claim it they'll have to give it up (which would be annoying as theirs is the only house in the vicinity and the land is right next to their house). “

How is it annoying if someone ‘claims’ their own land? Why should they have to claim land that belongs to them?

Princesspeachy0 Sun 27-Jan-19 08:05:07

This is crazy! Surely they can't think because they've put a fence around your land it's now theirs?!
confused

ChardonnaysPrettySister Sun 27-Jan-19 08:05:22

Shop the cunts for cutting trees down.

Purplecatshopaholic Sun 27-Jan-19 08:11:49

And the CF award goes to.... Lawyer. Sue.

bruffin Sun 27-Jan-19 08:14:38

If they have touched the TPO then you/they can be fined up to 20k

MiniBreak Sun 27-Jan-19 08:14:43

Wowsers. To those that seem to know about this... can OP just remove the fence as it's on her land? Is is their fence? Or ok to remove as long as she gives it back to them?

Sounds like one for a solicitor!

Deadbudgie Sun 27-Jan-19 08:16:37

Go back round today. Tell them to remove the fence today, 2 months of clearing a woodland does not give them possession. Tell them you have the deeds.

Explain that there are protected trees in there so you will be informing the authorities if they have been touched. You will also be getting a valuation of the trees and plants they have removed from your land which you expect to be reimbursed for. Bet the fence is gone by tonight. Get solicitor to send a letter so this is all on record

Yulebealrite Sun 27-Jan-19 08:18:00

Yes how many years are we talking?

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