Hedge Ditch

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russm1981
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Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 8:30 pm

Hedge Ditch

Post by russm1981 »

Hi,

I'd be really grateful for any advice that can be offered on this issue.

Between us and the neighbour is first a hedge, and then a ditch as a single feature. We're in a friendly discussion with the neighbour to establish the facts.

I understand that the hedge-ditch presumption would normally apply and that this would - as we expect - take our boundary to the far side of the ditch. The two parcels of land were split about 50 years ago, before that it was a single (large) farm. However, going back further, it looks like the land was split into many more parcels with more than one dwelling and presumably back at the point the ditch was dug was in separate ownership - hence there seems to be a high chance that this presumption applies?

1. Do you agree with my assessment?
2. How would one establish when the ditch was dug? Would that just be a case of combing old OS maps? The main website only goes back to 1881 and the detail is not good enough to see if a ditch exists.
3. How would one establish whether joint ownership existed at the time the ditch was dug?
4. If there was no information either way - and I don't think demonstrating joint ownership in 1982 is really relevant to determining ownership when ditch was dug - would the hedge ditch principle apply by default?

Secondly, we have access to the original conveyance from when the land was split. This shows a T mark on the boundary pointing in our favour. It is referred to in the conveyance, requiring the purchasers of what eventually became our land to maintain the boundary. It also talks about keeping ditches open and free flowing.

5. Regardless of the hedge ditch presumption, the conveyance itself seems to work in our favour, but is this determinant?

Assuming for a moment that neither the hedge-ditch principle nor the conveyance is helpful to us, what would the default position be? How do you work out whether the boundary is one side of the hedge or the other, in the middle of it, or the other side of the ditch? I believe the neighbour is comfortable the hedge is ours so the debate is probably just about the ditch.

We're very keen to resolve this amicably by working to establish the facts as best we can to a point we're all happy that we've reached a fair outcome.

Many thanks
cleo5
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Re: Hedge Ditch

Post by cleo5 »

What does it say on your deeds? What does it say on neighbours deeds.?
What were you sold?
How much land is between hedge and ditch.
Perhaps a good boundary surveyor might be worth consulting if the matter needs settling.
Collaborate
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Re: Hedge Ditch

Post by Collaborate »

Legal presumptions are there to be used if there is no evidence - it is a starting point, that is disputed;aced by evidence to the contrary. So look at your deeds first.
cleo5
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Re: Hedge Ditch

Post by cleo5 »

Farmers/ landowners usually dug the ditch first and then planted the hedge along th top of the mound of earth thrown up from ditch digging.
So both hedge and ditch belonged to same owner.
When land was sold the boundary would thus be the ditch but further sales might thwart this so best see what deeds of both properties state.
There are always exceptions to every rule.
Collaborate
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Re: Hedge Ditch

Post by Collaborate »

At the risk of repeating myself, it is not a rule. It is a legal presumption.

See this ; http://www.boundary-problems.co.uk/boun ... tions.html
arborlad
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Re: Hedge Ditch

Post by arborlad »

arborlad

smile...it confuses people
IdefixUK
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Re: Hedge Ditch

Post by IdefixUK »

Anyone interested in how the First-tier tribunal has recently dealt with a ditch and hedge case can access [2019] UKFTT508(PC) on the Bailii website. The comments of Judge Gatty at paragraph 40 may indicate a way forward for the OP of this thread.

Regards
Ps.Russ,
I would love to know why you feel the ownership of the ditch is so important.
Collaborate
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Re: Hedge Ditch

Post by Collaborate »

IdefixUK wrote: Sat Jan 02, 2021 4:08 pm Anyone interested in how the First-tier tribunal has recently dealt with a ditch and hedge case can access [2019] UKFTT508(PC) on the Bailii website. The comments of Judge Gatty at paragraph 40 may indicate a way forward for the OP of this thread.

Regards
Ps.Russ,
I would love to know why you feel the ownership of the ditch is so important.
Paras 10-19 set out the law here too, which OP will find useful to digest.https://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKFTT/PC/2019/508.pdf
russm1981
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Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 8:30 pm

Re: Hedge Ditch

Post by russm1981 »

Hi,
thanks all
Just to let you know this issue has self resolved and we've agreed everything with the neighbour, with him agreeing the boundary is at the far side of the ditch as we had hoped. A happy ended as was always the aim.
Some minor follow ups for interest:
1) The deeds when land was split did show Ts in our direction, and covenants also gave our predecessors responsibility for keeping ditches clear. However I understand that Ts mean maintenance responsibility not necessarily ownership (albeit one is strong indicator of the other)
2) Interest in the ditch is basically because we have some plans that would require us to culvert it
3) Previous post that someone linked in from me was 6yrs old and actually when we lived somewhere completely different - on the other side of a hedge/ditch!
Thanks
MacadamB53
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Re: Hedge Ditch

Post by MacadamB53 »

Hi russm1981,

Ts mean maintenance responsibility

no, they mean absolutely nothing unless referenced in the wording of the deed - and, if they are referenced, it will be there that their meaning is explained, rather some “rule of thumb”.

kind regards, Mac
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