The topic of rights of way is always a thorny one, which was proved when the topic came up at the February meeting of Ferryden and Craig Community Council.
The location this time is Rossie Moor.
The chairman, Gordon Paterson, told the meeting that he had contacted Southesk Farms, but found that the matter was considerably more involved than it had appeared to be at first glance.
Mr Paterson then declared a conflict of interest and, as a result, could not take part in any further discussion.
The response received from Southesk Farm detailed various locations that work has taken place and highlighted an area whereby access onto the moor is restricted with the use of gates.
These are to be locked during the cattle grazing season, March to October, to protect livestock and public.
Outwith these times there will be unrestricted public access. In addition, an area which has been used as an unofficial car park is within the boundary and there are no plans to reinstate this.
Other than these areas the Farm is allowing unrestricted access to the moor.
Tom Woolley felt that as the cattle grazing area includes a number of [alleged] rights of way this is against the principle of right of access and the gate should not be padlocked at any time.
He requested the community council to seek further consultation with Southesk Farms to arrange for these restrictions to be removed.
It was suggested at the meeting that gates similar to those seen at the sewage processing plant north of Montrose would allow access without allowing cattle to roam.
Gordon Brown requested information from Tom Woolley regarding the Council contact for rights of way.
And Mr Brown will write to Southesk Farms to see if a compromise can be reached.
* The process involved in ‘vindicating’ a right of way is costly and complicated, and is normally undertaken by a local council on behalf of aggrieved residents - if the council feels it is appropriate to become involved.
One of the criteria experienced by the Review is that before a path can be declared a right of way it must be shown to be the most direct route between two public places, such as villages or farms. - Editor