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Does Saxon Shore Way (walk) really cross the Royal St Georges Golf Club?

Does Saxon Shore Way (walk) really cross the Royal St Georges Golf Club?

Apr 7th, 2009, 11:24 AM
  #1  
rex
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Does Saxon Shore Way (walk) really cross the Royal St Georges Golf Club?

I understand that the concept of "Public Rights of Way" is very strong in England - - still, this seems quite astonishing to me, but several (somewhat vague) web sites lead me to believe that it does.

Starting from Sandwich, it evidently leads out to Princes Road, and from there, it looks like you could walk (maybe not seaside, due to the Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club) all the way down to Deal (in fact, all the way to Dover, if you chose to do so).

I have found a few notes here about making some sort of walk between Sandwich and Deal - - is walking literally across the Royal St Georges Golf Club indeed part of that?

Not entirely clear about getting back (assuming that we driove a car into Sandwich).

Thanks in advance for any insights on this...

Best wishes,

Rex
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Apr 7th, 2009, 11:37 AM
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Maybe we should ask why you think it is "astonishing". Yes - it does cross Royal St Georges . . . . .
janisj is online now  
Apr 7th, 2009, 11:41 AM
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When taking the footpath be sure to watch out for the holes!
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Apr 7th, 2009, 11:57 AM
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Lots of golf courses have public rights of way across then, so I don't see what is astonishing about this one, I find it less astonishing than that you can walk across my friend's garden because she happens to have a footpath going through it.
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Apr 7th, 2009, 12:31 PM
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I remember walking up the famous course on the Channel at Sandwich - the coastal footpath went right thru the course - dodging golf balls and all - perhaps the footpaths preceded the courses as we know them?

Fore!
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Apr 7th, 2009, 12:52 PM
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The public footpaths/bridleways/green roads that criss cross Britain, and which are often used as parts of long distance routes are very ancient rights of way. Other rights of way for the long distance paths are negotiated with the landowners, which is why they sometimes take illogical turns - if a landowner would give the right of way. With "right to roam" now of course things have changed somewhat.
Would that we had similar rights and paths here. A lot of our long distance paths end up on bike tracks and next to roads.
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Apr 8th, 2009, 03:36 AM
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rex
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So, evidently "astonishing" is too strong a word - - but there is nothing even vaguely similar to this on any American golf course, as far as I know.

Let alone the course where a major worldwide tournament is held.

Thanks for the responses.
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Apr 8th, 2009, 05:18 AM
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To track how a footpath progresses, you really need the local 1:25,000 OS map. You can see it on line by choosing the tightest zoom at http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/oswebsite/getamap/

Not all rights of way are shown on OS maps. But all paths shown on the 1:25,000 series carry full pedestrian access rights. Almost always, it's possible to construct a circular walk by following this series.
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Apr 8th, 2009, 09:02 AM
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rex: "Let alone the course where a major worldwide tournament is held." The Old Course @ St Andrews probably out ranks any course where you live, right? One can walk there (and on sundays it is a vast public park). Same w/ most of the other Open Championship courses.
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Apr 8th, 2009, 02:10 PM
  #10  
rex
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That was exactly my point, janis... no way you can walk around on the grounds of the Augusta Mational, at Pebble Beach (or in the "lowly" midwest at Valhalla here near my home in Louisville - - nor at Muirfield... the home course for Jack Nicklaus, near Columbus, which was my home for over 20 years).
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Apr 8th, 2009, 02:36 PM
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I used to ride my pony across a golf course that was crossed by a bridle-path. That's REALLY weird now I come to think of it but at the time it was part of the route to us.

Do you really not have public footpaths much in the US? I wonder why they didn't develop so much there...I would have thought routes would have been created as villages and towns grew and spread. Perhaps the paths did - but they weren't protected by law in the same way, so once that land became more valuable, goodbye access?
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Apr 8th, 2009, 02:40 PM
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Anyway back to the OP - you have to remember that the path was probably there for centuries before the golf course.

IT is extremely difficult to get a right-of-way removed. Extremely. It's even very hard to re-route one slightly. I know of a landowner who managed to re-route a path from across a field on one side of a hedge, on to a farm track the other side of the fence, but it took absolute years and lots of appeals to do it. He only wanted the path moved sideways about 10', that's all. He is also a QC, which probably helped him get over legal obstacles most people would be stumped by.
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Apr 9th, 2009, 04:47 AM
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rex
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Since "our" (U.S.) law generally came from "your" (English) law, I might have thought that these principles would have been manifest in some more similar way.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eminent_domain

While the concept apparently exists in both countries, I think that it has been part of the basis for NOT allowing "shared access" to (even a narrow strip of land on) a given property.

But surely an important difference is that - - no - - we do not have the heritage of centuries old "footpaths" (nor roads for horses, etc). I suppose that the residents of the continent who inhabited the place before "we" (Europeans, mostly) showed up... yes, perhaps they did. But "we" didn't show any respect for their culture, language or even their lives - - it's not surprising that we ignored any footpaths they may have had.
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Apr 9th, 2009, 05:45 AM
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Footpaths don't really have anything to do with concepts of the power of the State - and they didn't "develop".

All surviving pre-1066 land transaction records show that "ownership" of land in England was a fundamentally different concept from modern Americans'. A buyer (or thief) of land acquired some rights and obligations. But almost always other people had traditional rights - like access or grazing - which simply couldn't be taken away.

When the Normans expropriated huge tracts of England from their Saxon owners, all they took were the owners' rights. Other people's rights of access and exploitation remained broadly unchanged - even in the tracts seized to become Royal Forests. Only the king could hunt deer in "his" Sherwood Forest - but everyone could walk through it, and all sorts of people had rights to graze their pigs, or collect firewood or gazillions of other things. Contrary to American propaganda, a Norman king's freedom was limited by his subjects' traditional rights.

Over the next thousand years, many of these third-party rights got winnowed away (by, among other things, Magna Carta, which wasn't anything like the breakthrough in human rights later propagandists turned it into.) But access rights mostly didn't, and some other oddities remain.

As Rex hints, in the American colonies the theft of land from the natives was almost total, though London frequently tried to limit the colonists' depredations (a process the thieves later described as "injuries and usurpations"). Land therefore changed hands, once stolen, under the quite unEnglish presumption that society and neighbours had no rights over the land: the new republic's propagandists called this institutionalised selfishness "freedom", though the dispossessed natives probably called it something else.

The result is that almost anyone in England, or any institution, with more than a few acres of land has public access rights across his property, and almost all regard that as part of our way of life. Oddly, it's the 90-odd percent of us with less land who jealously guard our exclusive access, and practically every example of a landowner trying to obstruct access I've encountered is someone who's acquired a big space for the first time. In the US, there's far more of a "This is MY LAND" culture - which is why so many Americans struggle with our traditional notion that "ownership" of land isn't total.
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