Gates removed on byway after legal challenge

One of the sets of gates before it was taken down.

Two pairs of gates erected on a byway have been removed after a legal challenge.

The British Horse Society (BHS), with support from the Byways and Bridleways Trust, Open Spaces Society, and Ramblers, secured the removal of the large, ornamental gates which were obstructing a restricted byway in Stanwick St John, north of Richmond.

The BHS issued proceedings at York Magistrates’ Court against North Yorkshire Council, the highway authority with a legal duty to protect public paths.

The magistrates ordered the council to secure the removal of the gates by July 3, and this has now been done.

One of the pairs of gates before they were removed.


Mark Weston, BHS director of access, said: ‘The council’s removal of these gates demonstrates that councils cannot ignore such obstructions.

“It is a timely reminder to people that they must not erect gates across the highway unless they are authorised by the council to do so.  Not only do such gates block the public’s right of passage, but they are also intimidating and make public paths appear to be privatised.

“Gates—particularly of this type—make life very difficult for people with mobility and strength disability.

“The BHS is grateful to the Byways and Bridleways Trust, Open Spaces Society, and Ramblers for their support in bringing these proceedings.

“Our organisations are prepared to go to court in order to protect the public’s rights to use and enjoy public paths.”


  1. If the gates were locked the landowner should have been heavily fined. If they weren’t, what was the problem?

  2. Well done BHS and shame on the council for not enabling the removal earlier.

  3. Simple Rule: Do not buy Land or Property with time established Rights of Way across it if you are not prepared to share Legal Access with Law abiding Citizens whether you are a Government Body or Private individual!

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