Current case: Marlenes BOAT

Current case: Marlenes BOAT

Synopsis: Marlene Masters prepares to submit her application to delete an error entered on Somerset definitive map. The error concerns a Byway Open to All Traffic on Lower Clapton Farm.

Case:  Application for deletion of BOAT at Lower Clapton Farm

Location: Lower Clapton Farm Somerset

Commencement Date: 2019

A Byway Open to All Traffic was recorded on a private farm driveway and steep field at Lower Clapton Farm Somerset.

Marlene Masters has become a leading authority on Rights of way after 30 years+ of in depth research and unrivalled experience of public enquiries and court cases.

The infamous Peppard case took 50 years to resolve. Marlene took the case over 30 years ago and finally won!

Peppards footpath. Right in front of their door! BHS now claiming it’s a bridleway!

She is now preparing to fight her own case at Lower Clapton Farm and will be keeping us up to date with the case as it unfolds.


“You couldn’t make it up…

Lying on the table in the very recent past, being “prepped” for a second dose of Cancer surgery, there was a sudden exclamation.

“Oh my God!   I’ve just realised who you are! I Googled your name, I have been trying desperately to find you….!!!” 

My name is Marlene Masters. It will come as no surprise to some that the owner of “the voice”  had found himself facing a claim that part of his garden was an historic Public Bridleway………

The Story Begins

Standing on my doorstep was a figure dressed in motorcycling leathers and wearing a helmet which hid his face.  Behind him, in our farmyard, was an off-road motorcycle.    He was holding an O.S. map. 

From that day the quality of my family’s life and peaceful enjoyment of our own private property ceased to exist. 

He asked  “Is this Lower Clapton Farm?    I replied “Yes.”     Pointing to our steep grazing land  he then asked  “Is that the RUPP?”      I replied   “Is it what?”

Nothing “reasonable” or “alleged” about it….. it simply ceased to exist.

A Byway Open to All Traffic or Steep grazing land???

So having been informed by a leatherclad, helmeted, unidentifiable off-road motorcyclist that we have a RUPP on the steep grazing farmland,  I looked again…..  

……….grass land so steep a walker needs oxygen if they reach the top and that’s when I had a “lightbulb” thought – he is looking for an “off-road challenge!

Exercising my [then] generous nature I said “I have heard stories that in the 1930s the young local boys arranged fun events on a Sunday afternoon to try and ride up there – the top was the “hazard section.”  So if you want to have a go I will allow you, but you won’t get through because there are hedges right across at the top.”

With that he revved his bike and roared off……..

   He soon discovered it was too steep;  turning his bike he retraced his ride back to the village road from which he had branched to enter our farm driveway.

Naively, I thought that the was the end of it…..     Just shows how naive a landowner can be.   But the above tale showed that he had accepted my offer to “allow” use – in short,   had “given permission.”

To be continued….

5 thoughts on “Current case: Marlenes BOAT

  1. Our case should be of interest to many who have been targeted by off-roaders and horseriders… and found themselves to be immersed in “policy”.
    As it is a long story, I shall “drip” feed – not only to ensure its understood but because I am constantly approached for advice and it “interferes” with my blog.

  2. Appeared in the NPACA 1949 “road used as a public path” – a “public path” being a footpath or a bridleway. Definition = “A highway other than a footpath or bridleway”- caused total confusion and legally required investigation as to precisely what public rights existed. If the investigation revealed evidence that public vehicular rights could be “shown to exist” then the RUPP became a Byway Open to All Traffic [BOAT] . Unfortunately due to the word “road” this engendered a misbelief in some [including Somerset County Council] that regardless of investigation all RUPPs had public vehicular rights. So the investigation on our RUPP doomed from the start. Follow the “drip feed” to find out how the investigation turned some steep grazing land into a BOAT.

  3. I’ll follow this with interest, BOAT’s are an absolute nightmare. We have a UCR (unclassified county road and no it looks nothing like a road) running through our farm, it did not show up on any local authority searches when we brought the property and has been a nightmare ever since. We have had the right of way researched and we believe the real status is a bridleway, one of the biggest clues being that it is on the councils list of streets under the heading bridle road. However, because it is on the list of streets it provides the off roaders with a legal loophole to use it.

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