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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 7578
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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When we bought our farmhouse in 1975 the main entrance driveway

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When we bought our farmhouse in 1975 the main entrance driveway crossed a field belonging to one of the people selling the house. That person is now in a Care Home with dementia and her daughter is saying she is going to close off the field so that she can keep rescued horses in it. In fact, when I came back home yesterday the gate nearest the main road had been closed and, since it is a heavy wooden farmgate which is falling to bits and has to be lifted across a cattle grid, it was extremely difficult to open. As they own the field can they block the access? Can they make it so they keep the gates closed and in order to get in or out of the driveway, I have to open and close them?



Sorry, just to clarify, this is a right which you have used for in excess of 20 years - correct?


Do they dispute this? Can this be proved? ie. by statements from you and others...


Kind regards,



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
This is a right which we have used since November 1975. This problem only started yesterday, when I went to drive out and there were two cars parked on the drive. I drove out the back way and round to the road side of the front drive and found three people walking round the field. When I asked if the cars were theirs, the woman said yes and when I said they were blocking our drive, she said it was her field. I said we had Right of Way and she refused to believe it. When I came back just before 6.00 pm, they had gone and the gate had been closed. She lives about 15 miles away and the two men with her were being instructed over refencing the field. I gather the men are starting the fencing today and she is going to put padlocks on the gate. She did say she may give me a key to the padlocks if she finds that we do have Right of Way. Many people in the neighbourhood would be able to confirm that we have used this driveway for 35 years, including the people who now live in the house her mother used to own.


If you have been using an easement (eg right of way) continuously for 20 years uninterrupted then you have acquired a legal easement from the owner of the land under Prescription Act 1832. Provided you meet this criteria there is no question over whether you have a right of way - you do.


The lady in question cannot now deny you this right of way. If she closes the gates then she must give you a key. If she puts fencing up she must do so in a way and with such access points so that your right is unaffected. You can ask a Court to enforce these things ultimately but practically if you can convince her you have a right of way and then state that you do not wish to restrict the way in which she deals with her land provided it does not affect your legal right of way.,


If she does not comply then you should see a solicitor about writing a tersely worded letter to her (cost £40.00) to see if this prompts compliance. If not then you will have to make an application to Court for an order. If she gets difficult make sure she knows this.


You could also have the right registered against the registered legal title of your property and hers if you wish, this will be useful when coming to sell the property and provides undeniable clarity on the situation. See a local conveyancing solicitor about this if you think it will assist.


If this is useful please kindly click accept so that I may be rewarded for my time. It will be gratefully received and you will be free to ask follow up questions.


Kind regards,



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