For at least 6 years, probably much more, locals and visitors have been swinging from ropes hanging from the tall beech trees in the copse at the junction of footpath GL57 and bridleway GL56. Many of you may know it better as being at the southern end of the footpath that starts by the Griffin maze.
At some time in recent weeks the ropes disappeared. Given the time they have been there it is probably not a bad thing. There has always been a possibility of accidents and there may well have been minor injuries in the years these swings have been in place.
It is unclear as to who put the ropes in place initially. The land is privately owned and the public only have a right to pass along the footpaths and bridleway, they do not have any rights to use it as a playground although this appears to have been how these woods have been used for some time.
It is most likely that the landowner removed the ropes. Potentially, the landowner could be liable should an accident occur. But who is the landowner? It is possible to go to the Land Registry to find out – at a cost. However, the ownership may not be recorded there since about a third of all property is not recorded at the Land Registry, rather still being identified by deeds held by legal firms. This beech copse, which is designated as an ancient woodland, is not owned by Tottle Bottom Farm, so the most likely owners are probably Godshill Park Farm or Sainham Farm who have adjacent property.
So, Godshill no longer has rope swings and locals wishing to carry on the risky pursuit of rope swinging will now have to venture further afield to the likes of Mill Copse in Yarmouth, Fort Victoria Forest in Norton or Parkhurst Forest in Newport.