Not cave access but...

Steve Clark

Active member
Had lots of similar thoughts whilst we did a 'canyoning' descent of the Rover Doe this last weekend as a group with a couple of our kids. On the advice of a local instructor, we actually paid the IWFW entry fee (£8 adults, £4 kids, £48 total). The ticket office were slightly confused when we asked for a 'ticket', they apparently don't print them anymore because they would need to pay someone to collect the discarded tickets. (Use this information as you wish, we certainly will next time entering at the stepping stones)

The river itself was pretty low and ideal for 8-10 year old kids abseiling directly in the falls. However, the whole stretch of river is full of discarded rubbish - pop bottles, discarded clothes, shoes, sweet wrappers. Also dog sh1t bags chucked over the fences hanging in bushes and floating in pools. There is also a strong smell of foul sewage in one of the pools in the gorge section. Presumably this is discharge from either the caravan park or the Hansen quarry on either side. I've reported it to the EA for investigation.

Now I strongly disagree that anyone should 'own' this amazing feature of the landscape, but if it is being operated by a commercial enterprise they should be held to account for the upkeep of it and any pollution caused by the users.

If anyone does repeat this descent anytime soon, please keep a look out for the sewage thing and I'd encourage you to report it to the EA too if you smell it. Water is warm and it's all on decent p hanger resin bolts.
 

John Gresty

New member
I am currently re-reading Nick Hayes book, he does seem to have an obsession with lighting fires. An impressive work of research, but as a call to arms I'm not sure. I've done my share of 'trespassing' especially on river bank and woodlands, and put in a request during the original CROW consultations, to declare a parcel of land as open access, which was upheld.
I just hope some of these 'campaigners' keep their faith during the long grind that these things require, rather than switch to some other issue when that becomes fashionable.
John
 

ChrisJC

Active member
It's interesting, but really a soap-box rant rather than anything more factual.
A lot of 'aristocratic estate' land is rented out to farmers. My local aristocrat - Earl Fitzwilliam owns 20,000 acres hereabouts, including all of the fields around the village. But they are all tenanted. So they are out of bounds because they are being used to grow stuff.
A side note is that the estate does not promote public access because they have a hunt, and public access means that the saboteurs can cause much more of a nuisance than they already do.
Looking at this:
I would go along with the 21% of Forest, Open Land and Water being public access, but not the 63% of agriculture. I'd rather have food!

Chris.
 

Fjell

Member
It would add some clarity to identify where you want to go you think you should be reasonably be able to. The only significant one I can think of is river access where there is ongoing conflict between fisherman and other users. It is unclear to me what you would to do in a field of sheep or crops, but maybe the author of that piece has interesting ideas on the former.

In France last month we nearly caused an international incident by stopping to wash our gear in a nearby river. A man in a little van appeared and ranted at us at length in French, something about “poisson” is as far as we got. In order to calm him down I told him we were English. Seemed to do the trick because he indeed went suddenly very quiet, leapt in his van, and and drove off at speed. We had in fact already finished so headed back to the gite for light refreshments.
 

droid

Active member
In France last month we nearly caused an international incident by stopping to wash our gear in a nearby river. A man in a little van appeared and ranted at us at length in French, something about “poisson” is as far as we got. In order to calm him down I told him we were English. Seemed to do the trick because he indeed went suddenly very quiet, leapt in his van, and and drove off at speed. We had in fact already finished so headed back to the gite for light refreshments.
Sounds fishy....
 

cap n chris

Well-known member
Privately owned land, even if a subsidy was being paid to the owner, would still be privately owned land. There are many private homeowners who receive subsidies for things such as cavity wall insulation but that doesn't equate to the public having any right of entry. Is the original article just a rant along the lines of the politics of envy, I wonder.
 
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Steve Clark

Active member
I have no data, but I would imagine very little of the land being discussed is owned by individuals who have generated sufficient personal wealth through their working lives, after paying tax, to purchase it. It's generally land they control through the pure luck of being born to parents with an estate, who themselves have, in all likelihood inherited it themselves.

There was one such woman interviewed on the Today programme on R4 earlier in the week. Owner of X0,000 acres in Somerset(?). It apparently keeps her awake at night worrying about members of the public entering her land and potentially being injured or killed by falling branches in her woodland. Not the threat of being sued, the actual injuries to people. I have never heard such BS in my life. I doubt she has any such concerns about injuries to her gamekeepers, beaters, horses, foxes or game birds.

Those of us who were lucky enough to be born or now live in the UK are, of course, privileged to have the access to the land we do. It's not the same in many countries. I see no harm in improving access to beautiful places in a respectful way. If I had a river at the bottom of my garden, I'd welcome people to walk a path along it. As it happens, we have one in a culvert under our drive. Cavers welcome, no permit required, no need to call at house. Depth 1m, Length : 70m. Grade 2. Avoid in wet weather.
 

mikem

Well-known member
Even Ireland doesn't actually have public rights of way. So, ignoring water, which was specifically excluded from CRoW, BBC give 18.3% of land in England as not being farmland or built on & we have access to almost half of that...
 
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