Trail Riders Fellowship
Found a blocked lane? Here's what to do...
If you come across a blocked lane - whether it's a fallen tree, an overgrowth of vegetation or a deliberate act by persons known/unknown to impede your progress - then this is what you can do:
You can legally remove an obstruction by hand in order to get by but you must only move enough to do so and replace it when you have passed through, for example if a lane near a farm has a pole across then slide it out and put it back afterwards. If the lane is blocked by brambles then knock them aside to get through. You can only remove branches in order to proceed. The main rule is that you are not allowed to set out especially to clear the lane unless by prior permission and insurance from Devon County Council and the Parish.
In case of difficulty like a fallen tree that is too heavy to move, or a deliberate blockage, report the obstruction in writing (a letter can be sent attached to an email to save paper and postage!) to the Highway Authority (Devon County Council - click here for details). An extra benefit of doing this is that any written response will be confirmation that Devon County Council accept that it is a County responsibility and is further proof of our rights on that lane.
For lanes completely blocked by overgrowth
If possible take pictures* of the entrance to the lane and of the obstruction.
Write up a quick report and legend for your photos, detailing where the lane is using both Devon TRF references (from either the Google Earth or Memory Map overlays) and Ordnance Survey co-ordinates if known, what is blocking the route and stating that you would like to ride this route/lane.
Forward the report and photographs* to Devon TRF's Rights of Way Contact (see "Contact Us",).
For lanes deliberately blocked by persons known/unknown
It is important that you do not get into an altercation with anybody at the scene. If you are riding a legal lane, you have the support of both Devon and the National TRF and we can bring the power of the Local Authority to bear on the matter. IT is important to reamin calm and polite, and just take the photographs* you need.
Complete a brief report as set out above, mentioning any hostility from persons known/unknown, and forward it and your photographs* to our Rights of Way Contact.
Any form of photograph is acceptable, whether it is from a camera - preferably digital - or a mobile 'phone.