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Thread: Access to common land

  1. #1

    Access to common land

    One of my permissions consists of a block of woodland, connected by a small area of 'common' land through which a public road runs, to a block of pasture land. A third small area of woodland can be reached via the common land but without crossing a public road.
    The landowner has made it clear that he has no shooting rights over the common land, however he believes it is OK to walk from one end of the farm to the other, crossing over the common land and crossing the public road, while carrying a rifle.

    What is the position re. the 'common land' if I walk over it, is this than 'armed trespass' or not?

    I am aware that one can only cross a public road if the rifle is unloaded and in the slip; and, btw, the common land is not grazed by anybody at all, it is a wilderness.

    Thank you

  2. #2
    I thought you had to be on the common rights register to do any activity or anything associated with it, I have some common rights in Norfolk and for me to be able to go down there or cross it with a gun I have to be registered with the council.

  3. #3
    Common land is land with a defined right of common over it, it is still almost always owned by someone. In theory you should/could ask the landowner if able to ascertain who it is, but more realistically if you are using it to access land that you have a right to shoot on, then you would have a defence of reasonableness against being accused of armed trespass.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Hamburger View Post

    I am aware that one can only cross a public road if the rifle is unloaded and in the slip; and, btw, the common land is not grazed by anybody at all, it is a wilderness.

    Thank you
    That is wrong. The law states you must have a reasonable excuse to have a firearm in a public place. It does not need to be in a slip.

    My beat is bisected by many public roads. I can cross the roads or walk down to the next gate etc. with my rifle out of its slip. (Unloaded) I will not be breaking the law. I have a reasonable excuse. I am out stalking and crossing a road to the next bit of land.

    I checked this with the BASC firearms dept.

    ATB
    Last edited by achosenman; 31-07-2013 at 10:20.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by achosenman View Post
    That is wrong. The law states you must have a reasonable excuse to have a firearm in a public place. It does not need to be in a slip.

    My beat is bisected by many public roads. I can cross the roads or walk down to the next gate etc. with my rifle out of its slip. (Unloaded) I will not be breaking the law. I have a reasonable excuse. I am out stalking and crossing a road to the next bit of land.

    I checked this with the BASC firearms dept.

    ATB
    This is a great bit of advise - I wasn't aware of this, thank you!
    I have other permissions where I can cross from one farm to another but have to cross a (minor) public road.
    I have always done this, but making sure there was no traffic approaching from either way, but while doing so feeling I was potentially creating a problem for myself.
    Thank you again!

  6. #6
    I have one of these for that kind of situation...

    http://www.napieruk.com/acatalog/info_185.html

    Better safe than arrested and sorry.

    fraser

  7. #7
    Not wanting to be awkward but I'm not sure I understand the logic behind that.

    Having a firearm in a public place without reasonable excuse is just that. It will not matter whether the rifle is in a slip or not. i.e. take your 300 wonder mag clubbing on a Friday night, even in a slip and see how long you stay out of jail...

    I'm not suggesting we should not be circumspect, but adding yet more restrictions to our activities over and above that required by law will in no way help us should we transgress...far better to understand and comply with the real requirements rather than add unnecessary procedures that offer no protection to us regarding the law. They only serve to hinder us as we go about our lawful business.

    ATB

  8. #8
    NB If you do not know who the landowner is for the common just go down to the land charges section of your local council and ask to see the commons register. The landowner will be listed on there.

  9. #9
    Slightly off topic but, wandering about the country highways with a rifle out of a slip is not a problem. Back in 2008 the first SD March & Shoot event was held in Shropshire when a mob of us replicated the CFT around the roads above Minsterley Range. Yes, West Mercia had been informed and were not at all concerned, yes we left bolts and ammunition in secure boxes at the range, but essentially 30+ men and women roamed the byways, ostensibly armed to the teeth, with no legal challenge, objection or arrests. I guess the devil is in the detail of 'reasonable excuse' - and raising cash for H4H is reasonable enough for most folk?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by achosenman View Post
    .... i.e. take your 300 wonder mag clubbing on a Friday night, even in a slip and see how long you stay out of jail... ATB
    ​And what part of doing that would involve "reasonable excuse" which is one of the two legs you need to stand on legally ? .

    To answer the original query...

    You have lawful authority to possess ie fac.
    You have reasonable excuse ie on way to shooting.
    You have taken reasonable care ie the firearm is unloaded and in a cover.

    Problem solved in a reasonable manner.
    Last edited by private fraser; 31-07-2013 at 19:57.

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