Dan Loses Bid to Keep Woodland Home

A man who built a home in a part of Nut Glen above Ramsey has no right to live there and must leave, a court has ruled.

Daniel Richardson, who has lived in the woodland for over two years, has cleaned up the area, grown his own food and lived off river water, was accused of trespassing by the gov.

The case, to determine who owned the land, was heard by Deemster John Needham on September 29. Deemster Needham ruled that Mr Richardson has no right to live on the land and has given him three months to leave.

The Case

Mr Richardson argued that the land which his home was built on was not owned by anybody. During the case, he pointed to confusion between a landowner Mr Holland and DEFA as to who owned what parts of the glen. In building his home, Mr Richardson built on land which he believed to be ‘no man’s land’.

In his judgement, Deemster Needham said that, in defence of Mr Richardson, ‘prior to the involvement of the experts [heard from in the case] no one was sure of the exact position of the boundary’.


Against this, DEFA, using a variety of old maps, deeds and digital mapping, set out to prove that the department did indeed own the land which is directly next to Mr Holland’s land, thereby removing any argument that Mr Richardson had built his home on a ‘no man’s land’.


Ultimately Deemster Needham ruled that the land is in the possession of the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture and rejected any defence based on adverse possession.

He added: ‘I find that Mr Richardson has no valid defence to the Department’s claim and I issue a possession order. As to the enforcement of such an order, I shall hear further submissions. One must balance the difficulties of this being Mr Richardson’s home against the length of time of this trespass and the rights of the landowner. Without fettering my discretion I can indicate that, perhaps erring on the more generous side to Mr Richardson who will find it hard to reconcile himself with the requirement to move from this lovely Glen that he has tended, a period of about three months is reasonable in the circumstances but I keep an open mind in that regard.’

Deemster Needham also praised Mr Richardson for his work in improving the environment where he was living, his work in putting together and for the way he argued his case before the court.

You can read the full judgement below.

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