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Bridelway blocked to club pits.

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  • Bridelway blocked to club pits.

    I am the Secretary of the Sutton Courtenay Angling Club. Members of this club have driven down Stonehill Lane Drayton to fish a pit down there for many years. A few weeks ago a Mr. Webb who lives down that lane unilaterally closed it with a gate from 17.00 to 07.00 week days and all day Saturday and Sunday thereby excluding members of the fishing club. I contacted the Police who have done nothing. I then contacted the appropriate department of Oxfordshire County Council and today I received an answer from the appropriate person who ruled as follows:

    All that the public are entitled to is a five foot gap in a Bridleway. Any extension of that is a matter of “Private Rights” and if there are no “Private Rights” built into the lease for the two lakes that we used to be able to fish there is nothing the Oxfordshire County Council can, or as it appears to me, are inclined to do.

    In other words a person who does not own the Bridleway that passes his house is allowed to obstruct it except for a five foot gap. My understanding is that if anyone damages the gate while attempting to open it they can be charged with criminal damage.

    It would therefore appear that we will have to relinquish the two lakes that we have fished for many years to the detriment of 400 members.

    I feel that Oxfordshire County Council are taking the easy way out and that there is more they could do.

    Brian Leahy

  • #2
    How many years? I dont know the ins and outs and whether it is relevant, but I once read that if a person walks a route on a regular basis for 12 or more years and then someone tries to obscure that (by building etc) you can claim it as a public right of way. Also, you can stick a shed on a piece of 'wasteland' and if it is not opposed and if the ground is not altered or built on (in other words not used) by the owners for 12 years, you can claim it as yours. I don't know if the law still stands, or ever existed, but might be worth researching.

    Just had a look at this Ramblers | Take Action | Claim an Unrecorded Right of Way

    Don't know if citizens advice could help?


    • #3
      Try The Angling Trust, they have a legal dept that takes up angling related cases for it's members and affiliates.


      • #4
        Thanks, I will see how much it costs.


        • #5
          I asked the Trust if they could help last week and have had no reply.