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The Governement should sycamore rider-friendly policy !


Maureen Comber continues her Briefing

"The growth in the so called sport of ‘mud plugging’ by 4WD enthusiasts and the damage they caused meant something more had to be done to redress the situation."

Says Maureen Comber

Says Maureen Comber It really began with the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act which stated that “every highway used by the public mainly for the purpose for which FP’s and BW’s are so used would in future be shown on the Definitive Map as Roads Used as Public Paths” (RUPPS).

As I explained in the last article this was found to be confusing especially to landowners and farmers who sometimes needed to use them to get to their fields. Between then and the 1960’s many RUPP’s were mistakenly downgraded to footpaths and during the 1980’s many more had been wrongly identified as BOATS. This inevitably caused much frustration and anguish to the primary users of the RUPPS, the walkers, horse riders and cyclists, who had their use and enjoyment of these unmade, ancient highways prevented or seriously curtailed. This was because of the growth in the so called sport of ‘mud plugging’ by 4WD enthusiasts and the damage they caused. Obviously something more had to be done to redress the situation.

The Ramblers achieved open access to ‘ mountain, moorland, heath and down’ under The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW 2000). It was also under Sec.48 of this Act that any path which had been previously recorded as a RUPP was in future to be known as a ‘Restricted Byway’. These were for the use of a right of way on foot, on horseback or leading a horse or for vehicles other than mechanically propelled vehicles. Sec. 50 also provided: “Any owner or lesee of premises adjoining or adjacent to a relevant highway shall, so far as is necessary for the reasonable enjoyment and occupation of the premises, have a right of way for vehicles, and all other kinds of traffic over the relevant highway.”

Sec. 52 also provides that “the Secretary of State may by regulation make in any relevant provision such amendments, repeals or revocations as appear to him appropriate in consequence of the coming into force of sections 47 to 50.” Thus if there is insufficient evidence of use by vehicles for twenty years before 1930, to paths which were once classified as RUPPS and have since the 1980’s been upgraded to BOATS, application could and should be made to modify the Definitive Map so that they are shown as Restricted Byways. Forms can be obtained from HCC Rights of Way Tel. 08456035636.

But although this resolved the problem with RUPPS this was not the end of the story. Next time we will consider Byways. In the meantime here are just a few RUPP’s taken from the Highway Minutes of HCC 1987, which have been upgraded to BOATS on the observance of prima facie evidence only. The list is long so here are the first of many : Kingsley RUPP’s 28 & 29, Worldham RUPP’s 38,39,40, Wield, RUPP’s 17, 18, 19, 21, Froyle, 25, 28 34, Froxfield RUPP’s 43, 44, 46 ,47, 48, 49.

I pine for a more sensible approach to saving our forests

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