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How can I find out if a road is private or not?

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by RSV_Ecosse, 25 Feb 2009.

  1. RSV_Ecosse

    RSV_Ecosse Senior Member

    Right, cut to the chase.

    There's a bit of my usual commute that on the way home I hate with a passion. Its a longish climb that isn't steep at all, more of a gradual thing but is just boring and a complete drag to do.

    So I was mucking around on Microsoft Live Maps and found an alternative.

    Now, this alternative I have found is wider than a pathway but not quite as wide as a single carriageway road. You could get a car up it easily but there are no passing places and if something was coming the other way you would be stuck ( if you too were driving a car ).

    So it is basically a wide tarmac path.

    At one end it can be got onto from a "B" road. At this end there are absolutely no signs whatsoever that it is "private".

    At the other end it can also be accessed from a "B" road. Again, there are no signs saying it is "private".

    The first few times I have cycled down it have been fine.

    However I was on it a few days ago and a rather substantial metal gate has appeared over it about halfway down the road itself. It isn't a locked gate and can be opened via a lever. However this means dismounting and having to walk through mud to open the lever. Not great when wearing shoes with SPD-SL cleats on. There's no way round this gate, you have to get off and open it if you want to continue.

    The gate is a few hundred yards down from a farmhouse at the bottom of the drive up to the farmhouse.

    So first of all, as a "pre-emptive" measure so I know where I stand legally, is there anyway I can find out if this road/path is private or a public right of way?.

    Secondly, if it is a public right of way, does whoever placed this gate where it is have a legal right to do so?. Although it can be opened, it is blocking off the route completely unless you do dismount and waltz through the mud to the lever to open it. For the record as far as I can see, the fields on either side of the gate have no livestock in them and look arable to me although I may be wrong on that. So it's not like the gate is there to keep cattle/sheep in.

    This is the first time I have came across this situation so I'm puzzled slightly by the legal ins and outs. I just want to try and find out for my own benefit what the score is with the route so that if in the event some nutty farmer with a chip on his shoulder chases me down the path and screams "Get orf mai land!!!!" I can respond in the appropiate manner. ;)

    I can provide more details on exactly where this part of land in question is along with a few screen captures of the Live Maps view if that helps?.
  2. D-Rider

    D-Rider New Member

    I'd suggest chapping the door at the farmhouse and politely asking whoever answers? It may or may not be their road but living right next to it I'm sure they'll know. They might even say it's private but they don't mind you using it....
  3. OP

    RSV_Ecosse Senior Member

    Excellent idea, that didn't even enter my head!!.

    Will do that and see what transpires. ;)
  4. D-Rider

    D-Rider New Member

    Good luck!
  5. peanut

    peanut Guest

    public library will have maps showing public footpaths etc .
    Local Planning dept or highways should be able to tell you if the road is adopted or not
  6. I don't know the legalities but under the Scottish Access Code
    However the simple tap on the door might be more effective.
  7. OP

    RSV_Ecosse Senior Member

    Thanks HLaB, thats really useful stuff. :ohmy:
  8. hubgearfreak

    hubgearfreak Über Member

    it's one or the other.
    a. it's an unlocked gate that you can open, pass, and then close
    b. the route is completely blocked.


    c. you expect routes through the countryside to be accessible without getting your special pedal-shoes dirty?
  9. OP

    RSV_Ecosse Senior Member

    Of course I do!! - It's so inconsiderate. :ohmy:
  10. tyred

    tyred Legendary Member

    As long as they don't put a padlock on the gate, I don't consider that they are blocking a public right of way (if it is one). It's only a path/laneway and clearly not used very often so it's not unreasonable to have to open a gate. There is a similar lane near where I live. It's not as if they've put a gate across the main road or anything.
  11. OP

    RSV_Ecosse Senior Member

    Ok, so lets get away from the "blocked" subject then.

    It's not blocked, its just a minor hassle.

    I'm more interested in the access rights side of things which I will investigate further.
  12. jay clock

    jay clock Massive member

    Hampshire UK
    The downside of going and asking is that they might (correctly or not) say "it is private, please do not come down here". They might of course say "I love cyclists please pass through when you wish".

    I would just keep using it, accepting the massive burden of having to get off and walk for 3m when you pass through the gate
  13. OP

    RSV_Ecosse Senior Member

    Just back from taking a run round there in the car.

    Dropped off a 1m long piece of thick plywood over the muddy part through the gate.

    Mud problem solved. ;)
  14. redjedi

    redjedi Über Member

    Why didn't you take a longer piece of wood and make a ramp.

    Gate problem solved :sad: