Rights of way: how far do they extend? Is your right of way valid?

For any right or easement to exist there has to be a dominant tenement and a servient tenement. The dominant tenement is the land enjoying the benefit of the right and the servient land is the land subject to the right.

It is worth noting that the owner of the dominant tenement with the right cannot ‘extend’ the dominant tenement to encompass other land. So if the owner of the right owns Goodacre with the right and subsequently acquires Betteracre, the right does not pass to Betteracre too. The right attaches to the land, not its owner. Sometimes there can be confusion where Betteracre leads off Goodacre and only Goodacre actually enjoys rights of access over a track on the serivent land. The owner of Betteracre and Goodacre may be entitled to drive his tractor along the track to plough Goodacre but cannot (lawfully at least) take his tractor along that same track to cross Goodacre to reach Betteracre to plough the latter…

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