First pic (above) shows our access lane. The water is drainage from our property, mainly hill seepage. We have a wet climate.
Second pic shows the lane beyond our gate. It leads only to a very boggy field. The ruts are deep for two reasons. One is the obvious one: tractor tyres. The farmer comes to the field on only a couple of days a year to harvest hay. He can only carry one bale away at a time on prongs attached to his tractor so he has to do dozens of to-ings and fro-ings. A larger vehicle that could take more simply could not get up here. The hill up to the lane is too steep. There used to be another way to the field that ran above our garden but the bridge over the burn, which makes quite a deep ravine back there has collapsed. One can still walk over the remaining planks but no way could a tractor go that way unless a new bridge were built. Another neighbour is trying to get the farmer to deal with the broken bridge but we are not holding our breaths.
The other reason the ruts are deep is because one of our downhill neighbours, into whose garden some of the field water also drained, dug them deeper and made a higher bank than there had been so as to hold the water back and make it flow down the lane towards our gate. This person has now moved elsewhere. I have not met the new neighbours who’ve moved into that house.
Built up rut bank
into the field by the field entrance
Once past the field gate the tractor ruts, which were indeed very deep after this wet summer’s hay-making and removing, the people living just below this pic, whose garden is very steep, have also built up a bank to send the field drainage lanewards and away from them. I think they got really anxious about the water when there was a more than usual amount of water running down the field a couple of years ago. It turned out that the burn running along the top of the field was oveflowing because of logs and forest debris damming it. My husband cleared the dams and the excess water ceased to flow.
But still the neighbours below this field corner wanted to divert all the field drainage, some of which would normally have run down their garden, onto the lane and beyond our gate onto our access lane. I asked them not to do this as the excess water was washing away the lane surface and since that is our only access to our property we didn’t want that to happen any more than it did already. They did not like this request and “fell out” with me forthwith. I have never had neighbour problems before and I’ve lived in a lot of different places. We had got along fine before that; they even kept a set of door keys for us.
They not only fell out, but they keep digging trenches to make the water that would otherwise sit in the boggy part of the lane for the most part–but some of which, in really wet weather, might overflow down their gardens–run down our access lane. Their houses are essentially at the bottom of a small cliff that’s at the bottom of a boggy hill but it seems they do not wish to have to deal with any of the consequences of that.
Where the lane curves into our drive a certain amount of the gravelly stuff gets pushed to the side by vehicle tyres so a natural low dam has formed. Our hygrophobic neighbours come and kick or scrape or dig channels in this dam so that all the field drainage pours down the lane. Dambusters. I don’t know when they do this. I suspect that it is at night or when they know we are not at home.
The lane beyond our gate to the field has always been boggy and puddley. There is always frogspawn in the puddles in the spring. In a decent summer, which this year’s wasn’t, most of the water evaporates or seeps slowly into the ground. I don’t think what the dambusters are doing is very neighbourly. Today I’ve been dam building. I have not forced any water to flow into people’s gardens; I’ve just reinstated our ‘natural’ dam and built some more puddle-containing, field river-stopping ones. I expect dambusting guerilla tactics will be applied to them as well. I’m puzzled as to what other approach I can take with people who just seem to want to foist their problem onto someone else. Our house and this lane have been here since long before the houses below were built and the water could just run downhill freely directly from the field, across the shore road, and into the sea.