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River Avon in Salisbury

Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2020 3:27 pm
by Paullucas82
Good afternoon, I hope all is well.

I am new to this forum so please accept my apologies if this has been covered before, I couldn't see anything.

Is there a clear way to identify if certain stretches of water are privately owned? I had a run in with a supposide land/waterway owner last week who told me he owned a particular 9 mile stretch of the river Avon in Salisbury and that only fisherman could use it. It seemed odd to me as I couldn't see any signs and cant see anything online either.

TIA

Paul

Re: River Avon in Salisbury

Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2020 5:36 pm
by Chris Bolton
I think it's fairly well established that the owner of the bank owns the bed of the river, up to the midpoint, but not the river flowing over it. There's a lot of evidence that there's a right of navigation (like a public footpath) along almost all rivers in England and Wales, and as a public right that takes priority over private rights such as fishing, but this is often disputed by landowners. For more detail read the following links:

https://www.britishcanoeing.org.uk/go-c ... s-to-water

http://www.riveraccessforall.co.uk/

Please use this form to report your run in so that British Canoeing have a record of it.

Re: River Avon in Salisbury

Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:09 pm
by Paullucas82
Thank you for your response.

Looks like he is unaware of this whole area as was I. I will be keeping this in my back pocket in case of future problems.

I completed the form too.

Thanks again.

Paul

Re: River Avon in Salisbury

Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2020 7:16 am
by Chas C
Hi Paul

If you have any details you might be able to provide me it would be great. I'd been asked by Canoe England to gather any recent details of incidents on the Avon. I can see you have returned the incident form also, if you do not feel like repeating then if you could forward your name and details regarding the form I can pass these on so CE can dig them out. chas couchman at hotmail dot com (no gaps).

I'm based near Christchurch ;-)

Re: River Avon in Salisbury

Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2020 7:12 pm
by Paullucas82
Hi Chas,

here is what I sent them:

I was paddle boarding down a stretch of the river Avon in salisbury (between churchill gardens and some privately owned land). I rested on a fishing peg briefly just to clear my shoe and I was accosted by the land owner. Whilst holding an extendable lopping saw quite close to me he told me that I wasnt allowed to be anywhere on that stretch of water as he hadnt paid £1.2m for the land and water for people like me to be on there (bought for fishing and shooting). I apologised for pearching on the peg and said I just needed to clear my shoe or I would have floated into the bushes and down towards some swans (he had beef with people leaving the river and going on his land too). He kept reiterating that I wasnt allowed in the stretch of water and that it says so ALL over the internet. He told me that he allows Salisbury sea cadets to use it but the Salisbury canoe club stick to the river nadder as it's been redesigned with a weir for them. I know the canoeists go on the river Avon as i have passed them before.

He was generally quite abrupt with me and then ended the conversation off with that in could go further downstream if I wanted to as there were no fisherman about today and that in could infact get out and walk round the mill, which seemed odd as he initially told me I wasnt supposed to be there.

Thanks.

Paul

Re: River Avon in Salisbury

Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2020 9:43 pm
by Chris Bolton
he had beef with people leaving the river and going on his land too
He's quite within his rights on that.
it says so ALL over the internet
but talking complete rubbish there!

Re: River Avon in Salisbury

Posted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 7:27 am
by Chas C
Thanks Paul, in the end he sounded from your report fairly "reasonable". His land/river bed is privately owned and you'd be committing a civil offence of trespass by going on it, hard to enforce legally but as a good paddler most of us would not use his land or stand on his river bed. Should his land be an SSSI then you could be committing a criminal offence by landing/standing on it, something fishermen are excluded from by an act of parliament.

But for all of that no one owns the water you were on.

Re: River Avon in Salisbury

Posted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 9:16 am
by Adrian Cooper
You might like to refer to the Salisbury Avon Navigation Act 1665 which specifically makes the river a public navigation from Salisbury to the sea. It is still in force and his solicitor should have picked it up in searches at the time of purchase.

Sent from my SM-G960F using Tapatalk


Re: River Avon in Salisbury

Posted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 10:38 pm
by John K
Chas C wrote:Should his land be an SSSI then you could be committing a criminal offence by landing/standing on it, something fishermen are excluded from by an act of parliament.
That’s interesting and I haven’t come across this before. Have you got a reference for it?

Re: River Avon in Salisbury

Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2020 6:56 am
by Mark Gawler
John K wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 10:38 pm
Chas C wrote:Should his land be an SSSI then you could be committing a criminal offence by landing/standing on it, something fishermen are excluded from by an act of parliament.
That’s interesting and I haven’t come across this before. Have you got a reference for it?
Further down the Avon, the river north of the Christchurch loop flows through a SSSI. The land is part of Royalty Fishery, If you venture upstream (passing the unofficial no Canoeing signs) towards the bypass bridge you pass an Sembcorp sign which refers to the SSSI and place no restrictions on navigation. After the bridge you will be harassed by Fishermen who inhabit the banks and may attempt to get you to land and thus potentially commit an offence.

More discussion and a couple of photos here, I haven't a photo of the SSSI sign.
viewtopic.php?p=746636#p74663

Re: River Avon in Salisbury

Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2020 8:34 am
by Chas C
John K wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 10:38 pm
Chas C wrote:Should his land be an SSSI then you could be committing a criminal offence by landing/standing on it, something fishermen are excluded from by an act of parliament.
That’s interesting and I haven’t come across this before. Have you got a reference for it?
Hi John - I looked into this maybe 15 years ago, there are some details on earlier posts here.

It would appear having just looked that the "exclusions" statements have been removed in the past 15 years, maybe they were causing issues with those not excluded. It would appear that you (as a company, agency, individual) need to obtain permission for access. Having today read back through the https://www.gov.uk/guidance/protected-a ... c-interest I'm unable to see the paragraph that used to refer to the exceptions.

Also it no longer appears to be a criminal offence but same level as trespassing e.g. a civil offence as Natural England would need to take their own enforcement action, pretty sure this is another change.

Around 15 years ago on the Christchurch Avon the Bailiff did call in the police to make arrests on the SSSI for a non fishermen. I'm led to believe it was thrown out of court and the accused was awarded costs and some compensation, oddly it never made it into the local press.

It may have helped if I'd mentioned in the earlier post the research I did was 15 yrs old ............

Re: River Avon in Salisbury

Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2020 10:15 am
by Chris Bolton
I haven't done detailed research but as I understand it the presence of an SSSI doesn't, in itself, change public access. There's only an issue if that public access damages the things the SSSI is protecting. So if the river is a public navigation (and if there's a specific Act of Parliament that's inarguable) then the SSSI wouldn't change that.

The link in Chas' post above seems to be about the restriction on the landowner or operator of the SSSI, not the public. They have to ensure that the SSSI isn't damaged. If they want to do something that might be considered detrimental, they apply to Natural England for consent to do it, which is what I assume is the case with the Fishery. I haven't looked at the justification required for consent but maybe, if it was a Fishery before it was designated as SSSI, that would carry some weight.

If I get round to it I'll have a read through the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981

Re: River Avon in Salisbury

Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2020 10:18 am
by Chas C
Its interesting as I'd noticed that the SSSI protection signs that had appeared to have been put up by the Fishery (15 yrs ago) are no longer in place. Looking at the SSSI's around Christchurch it covers almost all of the harbour, rivers, Hengistbury Head and most of the farm land either side of the river so over time these have been expanded which could well be why the access details have also been updated.

Re: River Avon in Salisbury

Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2020 2:51 pm
by Adrian Cooper
Regarding access to SSSIs, the government responded to a report on the subject as follows

"Recommendation 13
Public access to SSSIs is important if their condition is to matter to more than a few
dedicated conservationists. Of course, it is vital that visitors should not damage the
sites but we believe that sensitive management of routes, access points and
information should mean that the public can benefit from visiting SSSIs without
compromising the condition of sites. (Paragraph 45)

The Government agrees that SSSIs provide a valuable and important resource to the
wider public, and provided advice on this in the Code of Guidance published last year.
We believe that in general, and with sympathetic management, SSSIs are capable of
accommodating many recreational activities that do not conflict with their special
interest features. Equally, it is only by ensuring that people have access to wildlife that
there is likely to be necessary enthusiasm and support to conserve it.
The Government acknowledges that about half of the land to which the right of access
under Part 1 of the CROW Act 2000 will apply is likely to be SSSI land. We believe that
the enhanced provision of public access to these sites can lead to greater public
understanding and enjoyment of nature conservation issues without adverse effects to
the sites themselves, provided this is undertaken in ways that protects wildlife and land
management interests. English Nature has been reviewing the implications for nature
conservation of a statutory right of access alongside the mapping of access land, and
developing solutions that safeguard the nature conservation interests and allow the land
to be managed effectively for wildlife. Whilst it is clear that in particular cases public
access can adversely affect the condition of an SSSI, in such instances, powers exist to
control or manage access as necessary to protect the nature conservation interest."

One should not be afraid to access an area designated SSSI just because it is. Indeed, there are many footpaths which pass through these all over the country.

Re: River Avon in Salisbury

Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2020 9:21 pm
by Chas C
Adrian Cooper wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 2:51 pm
One should not be afraid to access an area designated SSSI just because it is. Indeed, there are many footpaths which pass through these all over the country.
Adrian, when they were first put in place they did have very strict access controls, these have now been removed which is great to hear.

Re: River Avon in Salisbury

Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2020 9:46 pm
by John K
Thanks all. That was a much more comprehensive response than I was expecting!

Re: River Avon in Salisbury

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2020 1:08 am
by Jim
On a tenuous connection, the fenced area around right angle falls on the Etive (and some other areas along the river) are an SSSI and provision has been provided for public access to it for more than 15 years, certainly pre-dating the land reform act (Scotland) (2006?). The SSSI is because of rare indigenous trees, and the fencing is to stop deer eating them rather than humans damaging them. I'm sure the area wasn't even fenced 26 years ago, but has been for more than 15 years. Of course SSSIs may always have been treated differently in Scotland.

Re: River Avon in Salisbury

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:13 am
by Chas C
Chas C wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 9:21 pm
Adrian Cooper wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 2:51 pm
One should not be afraid to access an area designated SSSI just because it is. Indeed, there are many footpaths which pass through these all over the country.
Adrian, when they were first put in place they did have very strict access controls, these have now been removed which is great to hear.
Adrian my response was poorly written, the strict access controls were introduced approx 15 yrs ago as I'm sure SSSI's have probably been in place for some longer time. It was after this change that certain Fisheries decided it was time to engage the state to prosecute people travelling over SSSI's. Thankfully this has been removed from the legislation and now its more likely back to where it was before the changes 15 yrs ago.

Jim, it does appear that Scotland and Wales have their own rules for SSSI's yours being covered by Natural Scotland.

Apologies for flooding the post with history without researching, although it might help some understand current position, also thanks for the updates too.

Re: River Avon in Salisbury

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2020 9:57 am
by MikeVeal
Paullucas82 wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 7:12 pm
" he hadnt paid £1.2m for the land and water"
Well, he's right there!

Re: River Avon in Salisbury

Posted: Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:39 pm
by Paullucas82
Good evening

I have just read the article below and it talks about the book by Nick Hayes and the 97% stat of trespassing as the law of trespass applies to water over someone's land.

Does anyone know how this stacks up in debate against the right of navigation?


BBC News - Coronavirus: Will lockdown easing see more of us using rivers?
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-53500222

Many thanks

Re: River Avon in Salisbury

Posted: Sat Jul 25, 2020 1:47 am
by FLHgirl
Paullucas82 wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 7:12 pm
Hi Chas,

here is what I sent them:

I was paddle boarding down a stretch of the river Avon in salisbury (between churchill gardens and some privately owned land). I rested on a fishing peg briefly just to clear my shoe and I was accosted by the land owner. Whilst holding an extendable lopping saw quite close to me he told me that I wasnt allowed to be anywhere on that stretch of water as he hadnt paid £1.2m for the land and water for people like me to be on there (bought for fishing and shooting). I apologised for pearching on the peg and said I just needed to clear my shoe or I would have floated into the bushes and down towards some swans (he had beef with people leaving the river and going on his land too). He kept reiterating that I wasnt allowed in the stretch of water and that it says so ALL over the internet. He told me that he allows Salisbury sea cadets to use it but the Salisbury canoe club stick to the river nadder as it's been redesigned with a weir for them. I know the canoeists go on the river Avon as i have passed them before.

He was generally quite abrupt with me and then ended the conversation off with that in could go further downstream if I wanted to as there were no fisherman about today and that in could infact get out and walk round the mill, which seemed odd as he initially told me I wasnt supposed to be there.

Thanks.

Paul

A quick google search turned this document up which seems to give pretty good evidence that there is a public right of navigation on the Avon as others above have said, at the very least downstream of Harnham bridge (which I'm pretty sure would include the bit by Churchill gardens).


(Not sure if the image will be legible - if not just google "right of navigation Hampshire Avon" and there's a pdf of an article from 2007)

Image

Re: River Avon in Salisbury

Posted: Sat Jul 25, 2020 8:12 am
by Chas C
Paullucas82 wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:39 pm
Good evening

I have just read the article below and it talks about the book by Nick Hayes and the 97% stat of trespassing as the law of trespass applies to water over someone's land.

Does anyone know how this stacks up in debate against the right of navigation?


BBC News - Coronavirus: Will lockdown easing see more of us using rivers?
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-53500222

Many thanks
Hi Paul - pretty much rubbish, Nick Hayes is assuming that to use water is trespass but its not and its never been proven to be, its a bit lazy by him to choose this answer. Its also poor that the BBC use his book as a definitive answer to the question - although they do state "as written by him" rather than it being proven. As mentioned earlier the river bed and land either side can be owned therefore standing on it can be classed as trespass (a civil offence - not criminal), however the water that passes over the land is not owned by anyone (with the exception of those passing through military bases and one or two odd rivers - like the Beaulieu in the new forest).

Re: River Avon in Salisbury

Posted: Sat Jul 25, 2020 8:43 am
by jmmoxon
Basically it has never been proven either way in a court, so we have our opinion & they have theirs...

Re: River Avon in Salisbury

Posted: Sat Jul 25, 2020 8:54 am
by Chris Bolton
Being on private land is not trespass if you're using a right of way, such as a public right of navigation. I haven't read Nick Haynes' book, but I think that what he's missed.

Re: River Avon in Salisbury

Posted: Sat Jul 25, 2020 9:30 am
by jmmoxon
Indeed, but you're not supposed to deviate off that right of way & it doesn't give you permission to stop for a picnic - which many people do.