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Sunday, July 14, 2013

The right to roam across the English countryside

I suppose this post is mainly of interest to our U.S. readers. Here in the UK we take for granted our right of way across land owned by others and when I was in the U.S. for three months when Jaq and I married I missed walking across the countryside.

Some of our friends stateside particularly those on ranches and farms might find questions and answers HERE interesting especially the landowners responsibilities.

The rivers Thames and Wey run through parts of the county of Surrey and here alone they have over 2,000 miles of footpaths and bridleways. The latter are for walking, horse riding and cycling.

So this little walk is from our mooring along the river and across farmland to the Hamlet of Send Grove and the church of St. Mary the Virgin.

This is the start of our walk from our mooring. Ok so I took the picture on our return.
 
 We have walked south along the river bank and the GPS (red circle) shows the dotted line of the  footpath leaving the river off to the right. The church is marked by the Black cross.

 The first field we cross is owned by a local farmer.  You can see the well worn path here but the GPS is handy on less used paths to show the way. This field was being grazed by a herd of cows.
 
 Now the satellite shows us at the actual course of  River Wey. The river bank we left at the bridge was the man made course of the river that aided navigation. We are now on the bank of the original river Wey.











Jaq is ahead on the footbridge. To make it quite clear a marker indicates the direction to take.


 Now we are following the path between a farmer`s two fields. The grass is long and covering the path which is quite legal. If any other tree, bush or in fact anything other than grass blocked the path the landowner would be responsible.

 The style to the right of the gate is to allow passage out of the field while preventing livestock from roaming. There is actually a top rail missing on this style.

 Past the style and following the path.......
 
 we are now passing through someones yard. The wall of the church is on the right.
 
 Our destination St. Mary the Virgin Church and the footpath sign pointing back the way we have walked.

This is where the sign points to, through the yard of a house. I wonder what our friends across the pond are thinking having walked along with us. This intrusion onto their farm or ranch would be so unnatural but some of our rights of way go back thousands of years when walking from one village or settlement to another was to take a direct route across the land.
This gives our U.S. readers some idea of what I was missing while stateside when Jaq and I married.

6 comments:

Paul and Elaine said...

Out of interest how far behind real time is your blog, or are you having really bad weather where you are :-)
Paul

Ken and Sue nb Cleddau said...

Les,
In our village one footpath runs through a cottage garden. It goes up their drive around the back of the house, close to the door and then through the garden to the back hedge. We live in a landscape settled for many millennia and there are foot paths running in all direction through and around the village.
Ken

Les Biggs said...

Hi Paul/Elaine
We are very much behind. The walk was back in early June before summer started. Now enjoying the heat further up the Thames.
We feel the blog to be a record of our travels rather than an almost live account so the story unfolds slowly.
Happy boating
Les

Les Biggs said...

Hi Ken/Sue
I just love footpaths.
Many thanks for the loan of your Wey windlass and we look forward to meeting up and re-uniting you with it.
Les

Anonymous said...

Hi Les. I'm curious: How is the Wey windlass different from an ordinary one?

Cheers, Alistair

Les Biggs said...

Hi Alistair
The square section that fits the spindle on the gates is about 2mm larger than a canal windlass.
Also it is longer to give extra leverage and reach. Some of the platforms upon which you stand to operate the lock gear are over the water so ease of winding is a must to keep your balance.

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs