Grazing a right of way

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7 years 6 months ago #526868 by Follyfootfarm
Hi everyone, last year we committed the cardinal sin of buying a property on a right of way. :P
It is in a subdivision in the country, we are on 5 and a half acres, we own the ROW which has a substantial amount of grass (about half an acres worth) on either side of the metal road (which is maybe a 100m long(?)
There are two properties that have use of the ROW on the title, one is currently occupied, the other property (bare land) is up for sale now.
We all have gates into our properties and we wanted to put a gate up at the end of the ROW so that we could graze a few sheep in there from time to time to keep the grass down as well as for extra grazing. ( If it isn't grazed the grass could become a fire hazard in the summer especially with vehicles driving past.)
The neighbour has objected to us putting in a gate as 1.) They don't like having to open and close gates and 2.) They don't want to get poo on their car driving up the ROW.
From googling etc. it is clear we are not allowed to impede access to the properties. From our view, a locked gate would be an impediment but we are not intending to lock the gate at any time. From speaking with the free law service the law is a bit of a grey area as to what constitutes an impediment.
Has anyone had any similar issues, either from our perspective or from our neighbours?
Would like to hear. My husband is still putting in the gate and is of the view if they want to take it to small claims court or whatever they can and if it is found against us we will take it down. There is still the worry as well though that the neighbours may 'forget' to close the road gate one day and the sheep will get out and then I'm not sure who would be liable for any damages.
This is stressing me out as i would prefer not to have neighbours at war! :(

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7 years 6 months ago #526870 by Ronney
Replied by Ronney on topic Grazing a right of way
I don't know the cost of them, but a cattle stop would be can excellent solution in that situation. The neighbours can't complain about opening and shutting the gate, and it isn't an impediment to anything other than the sheep. Just a thought :)

Cheers,
Ronnie
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7 years 6 months ago #526871 by Follyfootfarm
Did look at that but seems to be a lot of evidence at least on line of sheep being able to get over cattle stops. Not sure what people on here have experienced with that?

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7 years 6 months ago #526872 by muri
Replied by muri on topic Grazing a right of way
Well you say you own the right of way, I guess you mean that you are dominant tenant and they are subserviant?
I believe that being dominant tenant does not actually give you grazing rights but then I am not a lawyer, just going on the situation where I had the luck of 3 different right of ways each with different owners on my last property.
I would either go with Romneys suggestion which is a win win for both of you and would go hard out to ensure a mutually satisfactory solution to both of you as a shared ROW can generate an enormous amount of conflict that steams and boils and goes far beyond your initial issue if you are not careful

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7 years 6 months ago #526873 by muri
Replied by muri on topic Grazing a right of way

Follyfootfarm wrote: Did look at that but seems to be a lot of evidence at least on line of sheep being able to get over cattle stops. Not sure what people on here have experienced with that?


yes I do know of people where the sheep go over the cattle stop but they are always short of grass and over graze so it may be a case of not over grazing and not leaving them in for too long. what would be on the other side of the stop, a quiet country road or a main road. How are you going to stop the sheep going onto their property, do they have a gate to their place too they are willing to close?

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7 years 6 months ago #526874 by Ramsay
Replied by Ramsay on topic Grazing a right of way
Hi
Do they have to share the cost of maintaining the ROW?
If they do then maybe point out to them the potential cost of having to have the long grass mowed down to prevent
the fire hazard...versus your sheep grazing proposal.
Thanks
Richard

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7 years 6 months ago #526875 by Follyfootfarm
It is on our title as being part of the section we bought. From what i have read that makes us the subserviant tenant and the other two places dominant?
In that case does anybody ever 'own' a right of way? I had the idea of 'selling' it to our neighbour for say $1 and then that takes any legal liability off us maybe?
Am feeling now that maybe we have been shafted and that 'owning' a right of way is more trouble than benefit...

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7 years 6 months ago #526876 by Follyfootfarm
There is a private road at the end of the right of way which is about another 100m long leading to a reasonably busy country road.
They have a gate at their property so it would mean them having to open and close two gates to get in and out of their property, the same as we would.

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7 years 6 months ago #526877 by Follyfootfarm
Yes costs are to be shared, which i had only previously thought of being re-metalling the road when it needs it, hadn't thought of the grass, good point.

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7 years 6 months ago #526879 by tonybaker
Replied by tonybaker on topic Grazing a right of way
I can foresee neighbourly disputes coming up!
As far as I know, you can use and enjoy the driveway but cannot obstruct the same in any way. Even a gate is an obstruction. As to who maintains the driveway is another matter, again there can be problems here. If you want to enjoy a cordial relationship with neighbours, give up the idea of grazing and just mow it. I think their comments about dirtying their cars are valid.
Can you move the fences so that only a bare minimum is left as a driveway?

5 acres, Ferguson 35X and implements, Hanmay pto shredder, BMW Z3, Countax ride on mower, chooks, Dorper and Wiltshire sheep. Bosky wood burning central heating stove and radiators. Retro caravan. Growing our own food and preserving it. Small vineyard, crap wine. :)

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7 years 6 months ago #526880 by Follyfootfarm
We could fence it, would cost quite a bit as is a long driveway, plus the bulk of the grass area is on the opposite side of the drive to our water source so would mean putting a pipe under the driveway as well.

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7 years 6 months ago #526882 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic Grazing a right of way
Been there, done that, glad I'm not doing it now :(
The ROW give the subservient tenant only the right to convey whatever has been agreed. The ROWs I dealt with had vehicular access and water, power, telephone ROWs, but no internet ROW. Thus if someone wanted to dig up the ROW to put anything else in, I as dominant could ask for extra cash to put that right in. Also if they wanted to put in a train track, an air strip, a path, a horse track, or any other thing that the easement does not permit.
By my thinking, I am permitted to graze the land that I own. But I must not prevent the ROW from being used by the tenants. I might be permitted to prevent non-tenants access across my land. For one lousy neighbour I considered employing the local bikie gang to allow or prevent access to her property :( .
An unlocked gate is not an obstacle. It is a normal and important part of rural living. If someone lets your animals escape, either onto their place or onto a public road, that is their responsibility. But ensure that you have cameras set up at each end of the ROW so that you can prove that your animals are being allowed to escape by someone else.
We try to get over the problem by telling the subservient tenant to tell us when they will be in or out so that we can get the animals off the drive. We are grazing a neighbours drive at the moment, and do so between 9 am and 5 pm weekdays only. If they are going to be away on weekends they tell us, so we can graze all day and night.
But many townies don't realise how important it is that you let the neighbours know when you are not going to be in, so that the neighbours can watch out for unexpected vehicle movements. You may need to explain this.
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7 years 6 months ago #526885 by Follyfootfarm
One point i forgot to make in my original post was that we will be starting off with only about 6 sheep (under-stocking to make sure our land/water can cope before we think about getting more) and that the ROW would only be grazed maybe a week out of every couple of months if that as we still have the bulk of our main property to graze as well (about 4 acres without the house). We had told them that in periods of bad weather/winter or if they had several visitors coming e.g. a party, we would make sure there were no sheep in the ROW and would leave the gate open. Did also think of the possibility of grazing it say 9am to 3pm (when i get home). Of course that does still leave the issue of poos but with only 6 or so sheep it's not like the ROW would be knee deep in it! We are really trying to be as accommodating as we can.

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7 years 6 months ago #526886 by Hawkspur
Replied by Hawkspur on topic Grazing a right of way
Just a correction, the dominant tenement is the one who has the right, the servient is the owner. Think of it as the dominating one having the rights over someone else's property, the servient is the one who is serving someone else.
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7 years 6 months ago #526888 by Follyfootfarm
Yep that is what i thought, someone else on here had it the other way around. Bit silly really as it makes us as the owners sound as though we have no rights, although that could well be true!...

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