4×4’s in Private Woodland

We’ve been sent this from a local landowner- if anyone knows any information- please let a committee member know and we’ll pass the info on-

Dear Sir,
I’m hoping you can help me – I’m a Defender owner and also a co-owner of a small woodland near Staplecross in East Sussex and we’re having a bit of problem with a group of 4x4ers greenlaning through our woods late at night.

As far as we can tell there’s 3 vehicles involved, and at this time of year the ground is still quite soft and they are doing a lot of damage to the tracks- essentially making them impassible for ourselves and other woodland owners who don’t have heavy duty off road vehicles.

The annoyance for me being that during the winter months I’d stopped driving my own Defender into my own woods to save the tracks and these guys have done more damage in one night than I would have done all winter.

Our woodland is part of a much larger wood that has been parcelled up – usually along convenient natural boundary lines such as existing tracks, although our woodland is a little different in that we have tracks running through them, so any damage done to them really affects us.

These tracks are marked on OS maps, but they are not public rights of way – they are certainly not BOATs (Byway Open to All Traffic).

Having the odd 4×4 come through is one of the joys of being a land owner, and when this has occurred in the past, we usually catch the chap and have a polite word (for a given value of the word ‘polite’, obviously), or they are inexperienced, believe the hype that their new toy can go anywhere, and then get themselves stuck, and presumably scare themselves a bit when they find it gets dark in the woods a lot sooner than they expect.

This time it’s different though – these guy seem to be organised and are planning their excursions, and are persistently finding new ways into the woods when the current route is closed – either gate locks replaced or fences repaired.

So I’m reaching out to see if you were aware of anybody who has quite a serious 4×4 vehicle – we believe one to be a Defender with large oversized MTs, who would be daft enough to go 4x4ing on private property and perhaps have a word about not doing so.  If you could ask them to come and fill their damm ruts in, that would be good too.

Unfortunately, if we can’t find whose doing this, and they don’t stop, we’ll have to escalate this to the police.  Which is something we rather not have to do.

Kind Regards,