Since the beginning of time, people have been securing their land using fences and hedges. In the UK, most of the countryside is divided up by hedgerows, which still mark out ancient boundaries. Some archaeologists can locate ancient sites by following the layout of modern hedgerows and fences.
Protecting your land through fences ensures that you are able to keep trespassers off of your property, manage the land as you please, and ensure that you have a private and secure area in which to rest or play. If your home is your castle, then the fences around your land are the walls, ensuring that only friends can have access to your most private areas.
In order to protect this right, there are several steps that you need to take.
1) Land surveys
Firstly, undertake a land survey. This will describe exactly how much of the surrounding land is owned by you. These surveys will identify clearly the boundary of the land, and will be marked out with survey stakes, and there will also be a copy of the survey left with the local county office, as a record in case of future disputes.
2) Know your boundaries
Refer to this property survey if you are approached by a neighbour about removing fences, trees or hedges that might lay on your boundary. You may also wish to refer to the survey, or to previous house deeds, in order to understand exactly where your boundary finishes, if you suspect that your neighbour is encroaching on your land. A few inches might not seem like much, but in fact it could be the start of a land dispute. By not allowing your neighbour to take those few inches of land without a fight, you are more likely to be able to hold onto your boundary in the future. This is the law of Adverse Possession.
3) Take steps with your security
Install security fences or gates that will help to deter intruders. Keeping trespassers off your property is very much easier if you have secure fencing, such as a palisade or railings. You can use your property survey to work out exactly where you will need to put the fences, so that they are within your property but still serving as boundary markers.
4) Make use of hoardings
If you are working on the property in order to covert it, then hoardings can be installed. These are temporary fences that are often bespoke, and can be used to conceal the property from passers-by and neighbours. Hoardings are a short-term solution, but can also be used in the long term to protect property.
5) Consider automated gates
Fitting automated gates is a solution if you want to keep animals on the land, or want to allow people to come into your property without previously arranging it. Automated gates are, for example, ideal for horse-riding stables, commercial properties, or locations where the drive begins some distance from the home.
All of these solutions can be useful when you are attempting to protect your land from trespassers, and from boundary disputes.
David Willis is the Director of Countrywide Fencing Ltd who specialise in high security palisades for your property.