Hedge & Angry Farmer.............

Hedge & Angry Farmer.............

Postby Machine Head » Sun Aug 19, 2012 10:04 am

Hi all, newbie here so please be gentle.

I am after some advice regarding hedge trimming.

The houses on my street, 20 of them, all have gardens that back onto a farmer’s field. All the hedges are of different heights, lengths and widths, 1 or 2 gardens don't even have them, and the hedge is not continuous. The hedge is on the farm land and is supposed to be trimmed by the farmer. This he used to do apparently but nobody can remember when the last time was. The residents have trimmed the hedges to keep them looking neat and have done for years. Now, due to the fact that we residents stopped them selling the land to build 285 houses on it (it is now back in green belt and can't be built on for the next 10 to 15 yrs) he has taken his bat and ball home. I and my wife were trimming the hedge, which required us to go onto his land, when he drove up and started having a go at us. His attitude was very condescending and intimidating. He didn’t explain his position in a calm manner at all. We did. We explained that we were only doing what everybody else was doing and have been doing for the past 30 years. He threaten us with the police (I said get on with it) complained that I had a gate onto his land (it's on my land to give access to the back of my garage) and started filming us. He informed me that all the residents were going to get solicitors letters telling us to cease trimming the hedge. As his attitude was so bad we started to have a go back. In the end he drove off muttering under his breath. Obviously he's peeved because he won't get the money he wanted and has decided to throw his teddy out of his pram. Apparently he has been overheard in one of the local pubs boasting about how much money they were going to get and what they were going to do with the land. The land hasn't been used for agriculture, or anything else for that matter, for at least 7 years.

About five hours later we got a knock on our door. There was the so called ‘farmer’ with a woman in tow. It turns out the man in the 4x4 shouting at us was nothing more than the land owners on/off boyfriend. Right from the off she started shouting at us, saying things like ‘Don’t mess with me’ & ‘You have messed with my life’ and ‘Do you know who you are messing with’? I told her boyfriend to get off my property, which wiped the smirk off his face, told her to go away and shut the door in her face. She continued to rant so my wife went to the door and asked if she was going to calm down and discuss the situation like an adult. Boyfriend was stood on the pavement frothing at the mouth :) . My wife explained the situation to her calmly but this woman soon turned it from a talk about the hedge round to the fact that the land was back in green belt. It turns out that she wanted to sell the land for building but her two brothers didn’t. She raved on about building some stables, planting leylandi, cutting the light off and all sorts of other stuff. She got even more annoyed when we informed her that the rest of the residents were of the same opinion as us, that we would all continue to keep the hedges looking neat. I think her head just about blew up at that point. They went away spouting about solicitors.

We are going to get in touch with our council environment office, our local councillor whom we know very well and also our local bobby to apprise them of the situation and to see where we stand. The fact that they were very threatening and intimidating might interest the PC. The environment office might also be interested in the fact that the ditch on the other side of the hedge which is there for water run off hasn’t been maintained and has resulted in some residents gardens being flooded during the recent bad rain.

In the mean time what I would like to know is do we have the right to keep the hedge looking neat? Has anybody else been in this position? You can look on Google if you type in Cricketers Approach Wrenthorpe. I would be interested to know any and all views.

Thanks,
MH
Machine Head
 
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Re: Hedge & Angry Farmer.............

Postby Mojisola » Sun Aug 19, 2012 10:47 am

You can trim the side that faces your garden. You shouldn't be doing anything to the height or the other side of the hedge.
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Re: Hedge & Angry Farmer.............

Postby cloudyeyes » Sun Aug 19, 2012 11:03 am

You can cut back the hedge from your side to the boundary line but no further. You have no right to go onto his land to cut his hedge. In respect of the gate, unless you have a ROW/easement that's probably trespass too. You can apply to the court for access for maintenance but you can't just go on when you choose.
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Re: Hedge & Angry Farmer.............

Postby arborlad » Sun Aug 19, 2012 11:16 am

Machine Head wrote:........... the ditch on the other side of the hedge .............
Thanks,
MH



According to the 'hedge and ditch' rule, there is a presumption that you own both hedge and ditch.

Have any claims for ownership been made or verified?
arborlad

smile...it confuses people
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Re: Hedge & Angry Farmer.............

Postby Machine Head » Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:02 pm

Hi, thanks for the quick replies.

The answers are pretty much what I thought. With regards to the gate, it is on my property attached to my fence to give me access to the back of my garage where my composter is, on my property, so I can't see any problem with it. The original fence at the back all had gates on them. I have spoken to most of the other residents and they are of the same mind, to trim the hedge exactly how it used to be done when the farmer did it. All went to the farm side to finish the trim, we just happened to be the first to get 'caught'. As I say, they have thrown the teddy out because we stopped the house building and the woman said she was going to do all she can to cut off the residents natural light as a way of getting her own back. I will check exactly where the property boundry is as a couple of residents have done away with the hedge completly so they may know. As it is, she might well be taking 20 houseowners to court :roll:

Cheers,
MH
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Re: Hedge & Angry Farmer.............

Postby hzatph » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:06 pm

I'm not convinced at all that it is your hedge so best just to cut your side from your side as has been said. There is no excuse for the farmer's behaviour of course.
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Re: Hedge & Angry Farmer.............

Postby arborlad » Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:19 pm

hzatph wrote:I'm not convinced at all that it is your hedge.



I'm not convinced myself, but the layout would suggest it is so, ally that with: All the hedges are of different heights, lengths and widths, 1 or 2 gardens don't even have them, and the hedge is not continuous...........and now......a couple of residents have done away with the hedge completly ..........with no apparent action being taken.........
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smile...it confuses people
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Re: Hedge & Angry Farmer.............

Postby hzatph » Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:06 pm

I am still not convinced even given hedge and ditch. The land sale was almost certainly after construction of the hedge and ditch and it would have made no sense for the farmer to have sold the ditch and hedge as ti still enclosed their land.
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Re: Hedge & Angry Farmer.............

Postby arsie » Sat Sep 08, 2012 10:17 am

Someone mentioned the hedge and ditch rule.

We came across it with our farmer neighbour. He owns the disused orchard next to us. We always thought the overgrown old hedge between us marked the boundary. We always had passage down the back of the hedge to trim it, bounded by a low rusty falling down sort of fence a yard or two into his orchard. We took a digger down the back passage (!) to clear it and accidently clobbered a lot of his 'fence'.

After 20 minutes of verbal volcano, we agreed to replace his 'stock fence' and he took two paces from the hedge to show us where the fence should be. He came back later with a short list of reliable stock-fencers and I duly replaced his fence. So at cost of £300 we gained a strip of land 2m by 50m. Subsequently I found out there had been a ditch 'his' side of the hedge, hence his two paces (the ditch had long since been filled in).

So now we come to the hedge and ditch rule. Which is:
Where two properties are divided by a hedge or a bank and ditch, there is a presumption that the boundary is along the opposite edge of the ditch from the hedge or bank. This only applies to man-made ditches and does not apply if it can be established that the ditch was natural, or that the boundary feature was made while the land on both sides was in common ownership.

Clearly the ditch was never (check this!) in your garden but on the field side of the hedge. If over time and due to the neglect of the farmer whose field benefited from the ditch it has become filled in by silt runoff, hedge cuttings etc the boundary line is a ditch width into his field. Therefore I would think you can with impunity walk on where the ditch used to be because it is your land. You might want to make a gate through, so you don't have to walk across the farmer's field.

A chat with your neighbours might be a good idea to see if any of them ever had a ditch on 'your' side of the hedge. Then check with your solicitor what I have quoted but there were lots of hits when I 'Google'd it. Before writing a solicitor's letter to the farmer, if that becomes necessary, I would check that your house insurance includes legal expenses. If he does retaliate by planting Leylandii you could have a long drawn-out war on your hands. But he will know that it will be expensive to him too so I doubt he would be that silly. But you never know :roll:
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Re: Hedge & Angry Farmer.............

Postby RDF Jess » Fri May 29, 2015 12:22 pm

Hi, my name is Jess and I’m a Researcher at RDF Television.

I’m currently working on a new documentary for ITV exploring a variety of issues people can face in their garden and or around their home including boundary disputes, nuisances next door, infestations, pests and weeds, sinkholes, erosion and flooding.

It would be great to have a chat with you and tell you more about the programme.

If you’re interested in finding out more please call Jess on 0207 013 4076.
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