Another example of a case which went to trial is that involving two couples, who have reportedly spent £500,000 on a legal battle over ‘a few feet’ of muddy ditch between their homes. Mr and Mrs Gilks are the owners of a five acre property in Mobberley and claimed to have the right to drive over a ditch and down a track next to their property, over their neighbour’s land, to Wilmslow, which is reputedly the home to several footballers. The Hodgsons claimed that the Gilkses had no right of way and disturbed their alpacas. At Manchester County Court in December 2013, the judge ruled that the Gilkses owned the whole ditch and that their boundary lies in the middle of the track, giving them the right to drive over the ditch. The Hodgsons are appealing that decision, saying their neighbours’ boundary reaches only halfway across the ditch, and they are legally blocked from crossing the other half in a vehicle. The Court of Appeal was reportedly told that the land registry plans prove the border of the Gilkses’ home extends no further than the centre of the ditch.
Lord Justice Clarke, asked the lawyers: ‘What is so special about it?’ Mr Foster said: ‘Using the way for the purpose of travelling to and from the closest town of Wilmslow gave rise to a significantly shorter journey than would have been the case had that same journey been made using the public highway.’
It is not known whether the parties did try to resolve their differences and perhaps this is an example of extremely unreasonable opponents. The judges have reserved their decision until a later date and no doubt further comments regarding the costs incurred in this dispute will ensue.