Walking in the English countryside has become a legal battleground with well-heeled landowners armed with legal briefs to halt intruders and trespassers partaking in the national past-time known as rambling.
Sunday Times correspondent Daniel Foggo reported that a group of landowners in Kent have spent a small fortune to establish that every Englishman’s home is his castle.
The Ramblers, a national association which seeks to protect the public’s rights of way over private property, decries the landowners’ increasingly aggressive legal steps to stop them.
Foggo quoted Simon Edwards, who owns Bayham Manor, a £4m eight-bedroom mansion near Tunbridge Wells. He spent £80,000 paying for lawyers to defeat the claims of ramblers wanting access to his 35-acre estate and neighbouring land.
“The path at Bayham Manor went within 20ft of the back door of the house. The privacy would be lost; the crime rate could be greatly increased,” Edwards is quoted as saying. “If you’re a landowner facing the invasion force that is the ramblers, you need some heart they can be beaten. With enough diligence and enough funding, the ramblers can be beaten.”
The Ramblers site is found here. The Sunday Times story requires a subscription to access its site.