David Watts, in his letter of support for the protest against the plan by Bathurst Estates to charge for entry to Cirencester Park, relies on (amongst other things) "the historical rights of way through the Park". I believe that no such rights of way exist.

As I understand it, for centuries members of the Bathurst family, out of generosity and without expecting any recompense, have allowed members of the public to visit Cirencester Park. It has been the law for centuries that when a landowner permits the public to visit his land, no right of way can be created.

When, centuries ago, the public were first allowed into Cirencester Park, the number of people taking advantage of that would have been tiny and some of them would have been so impoverished as to not have been able to afford an entrance fee, however small.

Times have changed. Now hordes of people visit Cirencester Park and they can afford a modest fee for the benefit. The wear and tear caused by these hordes and their dogs must be considerable. I think it perfectly reasonable for the Bathurst Estates to ask for a modest fee to contribute to the cost of upkeep.

The protesters refer to the fact that the public have been allowed free entry to Cirencester Park for centuries and say that that should continue. Another long established rule of English law says that a benefactor who decides to stop doing generous acts cannot be obliged to continue them. That rule is sensible for otherwise someone might be deterred from starting to be generous.

John Hodgson