Aggressive behaviour by members of Twickenham Rugby Club to walkers in the rugby ground

I have just returned from walking my 2 dogs in Hatherop Park.  As usual I walk around the perimiter of both Hatherop and Twickenham Rugby Ground.  Over the last year, it seems the caretaker of the club, together with some of the rugby boys have been fly tipping large rubber tractor tyres, earth, branches, tree trunks trying to keep walkers out of the rugby ground.  These have spilled over into the wooded area between the rugby ground and Hatherop park which is looking more like a tip rather than a wooded area.  Each time they block up a small path, someone either makes another or makes their way through the blockages.  I'm of the understanding that it is a public right of way due to the many, many years local residents have been using it to walk their dogs and take their children out.  Recently though, in the last couple of years, the members of the club have become increasingly aggressive to dog walkers.  They keep using the excuse that it's due to the kids riding their small motor bikes over the pitches, but to be completely honest, I have not seen anything like that going on for a long time and I walk there regularly. 

The reason for my writing is that I have just returned from a walk around the park and rugby ground and found yet again the members of the club had put more unsightly rubber tyres on top of each other to block an exit path.  In order to exit I pulled away a couple of vertical wooden poles that had been placed vertically against them at the side and walked through.  I heard a lad yelling after me so I ignored him.  He followed me and started shouting that I was trespassing and he was going to call the police.  I turned round and told him he could if he wanted as it was a right of way and considering the main right of way had been blocked yet again by the club I had to get out somehow.  He continued shouting that I was tresspassing and started taking photo's of me on his mobile phone, saying he was reporting me to the police.  I carried on walking and told him to do as he liked.  

This situation is becoming more and more ridiculous.  This is a local community amenity, yet the Twickenham Rugby Club are acting as bullies.  If they are concerned about the bikes, then they should install kissing gates at all entrances to stop bikes.  Their problem with dog walkers would be minimised it they installed bins at intervalls around the ground for people to put their dog mess.  In any public area you will find the small majority that wont, but the vast majority do.  

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Hi Debbie looking in from the out side and reading between the lines I think the dogs mess is the problem! The small minority upset every body. Rugby players and dog walkers alike.
I think the idiots on bikes are out again, as I have heard them most of the morning. I am just off the bottom of Priory Road. When out to buy some milk I also saw one of the idiots turning out from Haethrope Road on what looked like a moped that wasn't road worthy and completely covered in mud. Can't the police get over there?
Hold on just a second...

While I can sympathise a little with this situation, if you're on Twickenham Rugby Club's land then you are surely trespassing. If you believe it's a right of way simply because you've been doing it for a long time, that simply means you've been trespassing for a long time!

If there's no public right of way marked on a map, then there is no public right of way.

Why on earth would the rugby club go to the trouble of lugging tyres/wooden posts around to block paths if there wasn't an issue with bikes and trespassing? Just because the bikes aren't there when you're walking your dog, doesn't mean that they're not there.

Lastly, you suggesting that they install dog mess bins is hilarious. You're seriously suggesting that a private landowner installs dog mess bins for dog walkers trespassing on their land that can't be bothered to take the dog mess home with them?

As a rugby player myself - not at Twickenham I should add - dog mess can be a problem, but it's not a problem because of lack of bins, it's a problem because of a minority of irresponsible owners.
If I had motor bikes driving on the lawn in my garden then I would take measures to block them out too. I think the dog walkers should take the dog waste home with them and that local people should support Twickenham Rugby Club to control the antisocial behaviour, it must be very expensive to repair the damage on their pitches.
I don't believe that this website should be used for defamatory posts about other members or businesses. Presumably most people would feel defensive if their name was linked on a public website in this way eg 'members name' displayed aggressive behaviour... It could lead to litigation and a potential damages claim.

Firstly, we would like to apologise for the discomfort you may have felt from the behaviour of one of our members. Please be assured that we will investigate this incident and ensure that there is no repeat.

By way of explanation, Parkfields is private property with a designated public right of way, signposted from an alley off South Road through the car parking area to the bridleway to the north of ground. Other than the main entrance, these are the only points of access to the grounds. Entrance by any other means is trespass.

Our robust defence of this position is to protect the grounds from recent attempts by travellers to set up camp and regular motorbike riders illegally riding on the grounds. Over the years we have been sympathetic to local dog walkers, who on the whole respect the grounds, stick to the perimeter and remove dog waste. However, there are a minority who let their dogs run free, resulting in uncleared dog waste on playing pitch areas. Children from the local community play rugby on these pitches; I am sure no further explanation is required.

Kind Regards

Twickenham RFC

I agree with you Alison that it is important that everyone who uses this site tries to avoid negativity (and certainly libel and defamation). Obviously people can sometimes have strong opinions on local issues and that will lead to some degree of conflict or disagreement. I think the response by Twickenham RFC seems a very reasonable one.

Alison said:

I don't believe that this website should be used for defamatory posts about other members or businesses. Presumably most people would feel defensive if their name was linked on a public website in this way eg 'members name' displayed aggressive behaviour... It could lead to litigation and a potential damages claim.

Is this the pathway through from Hatherop to the public path the other side of the Rugby field that everyone is on about and is in question (in red)?  If so use to with family and friends all the time when I was growing up in the 60/70's we use to have family walks up through Hatherop in to and across the back of the rugby field to a pathway which was well worn and still is by the looks of it from this aerial photo, we use to all collect blackberries that use to line the rugby field and along the pathway at the top edge of field that runs between the field and up along the back where the newer houses were built along Oak Avenue (in Blue). Not once when we walked through there in the 60/70 were we ever challenged by anyone from the rugby club, and this path was a well loved route and walked by so many people. 

Sorry last part of what I was typing didn't go through but...

I think why so many people get confused about whether there is right of way or not between Hatherop and the correct public right of way as pointed out by Twickenham RFC entry is that so many of us including myself over the years have walked what has become an established short cut round the edge of the rugby field from Hatherop park and people were not challenged over this for many, many years.

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