Residents argued that a number of paths through the wood had been regularly used by walkers, as of right, for at least 20 years and, on that basis, the local authority agreed to include them on the area’s definitive map. The owners of the woodland appealed with some success but, following a public inquiry, a government inspector confirmed one of the tracks as a public right of way.
In challenging the latter decision before the High Court, the owners argued that there was no evidence that they had ever intended to dedicate the track for public use. Although they were aware that ramblers used it, they had challenged their right to do so by blocking access and putting up signs. There was also said to be insufficient evidence that public use had been continuous for the whole 20-year period.
In rejecting those arguments, however, the Court noted the testimony of residents – including a former highways engineer and a retired circuit judge – that the track was obviously well trodden and that ramblers using it had been a common sight for many years. The inspector’s decision was adequately reasoned and there was a rational basis for the conclusions he reached.
If you are currently in a dispute over a right of way in or around Reading, Berkshire, or wish to raise such a dispute, and require independent legal advice please contact Justin Sadler. Justin, our litigation partner, offers an initial one-hour £95 fixed fee meeting which provides an excellent opportunity for Justin to learn more about your matter and advise you of the best course of action to take. Please contact Justin on [email protected] or 0118 958 9711 to book in your fixed fee meeting.