Cornish Farmer, 56, keeps land which locals wanted as a village green

Cornish Farmer, 56, wins decade-long fight to keep hold of land which locals wanted to turn into village green after she was left terrified by threatening messages sent in post and painted on walls

  • Ruth Ramsden, 56, and her husband James have won their decade-long battle 
  • Application to turn their creekside copse into a ‘village green’ first made in 2008
  • Received vile abuse from ‘meanspirited nimbys’, according to Mr Ramsden
  • The application has been rejected because the land is not used for ‘sports’ 

The owners of a farm who recently won their battle over ‘bullies and abusers’ to keep their privately-owned beauty spot have described the neighbours who threatened them as a ‘vipers nest’.

Ruth Ramsden, 56, and her husband James, a barrister, initially turned down an application to turn the creekside copse at their home on Shillingham Farm in Forder, near Plymouth, into a ‘village green’.

But their refusal to co-operate with those who wanted to control access to the 0.7-acre strip of land soon turned nasty, with vicious letters being send through their door and obscene graffiti painted on their walls, The Times reported.

The abuse escalated to the point where police had to be called.  

Ruth Ramsden, 56, and her husband James, a barrister, initially turned down an application to turn the creekside copse (pictured) at their home on Shillingham Farm in Forder, near Plymouth, into a ‘village green’

They have since won their case, with Cornwall Council admitting the copse could not be granted village green status because it was not in regular use for ‘sports or pastimes’.  

Mr Ramsden described his neighbours as a ‘vipers nest’ and said the ‘meanspirited nimbys’ wanted to stop others’ enjoying land that was already open to the public.

His wife Ruth, who was diagnosed with depression in 2016 after facing months of abuse, said they would ‘take on the bullies and abusers’. 

The couple argued they already allowed public access for people to enjoy walks and picnics on the land. 

Mr Ramsden (pictured) described his neighbours as a ‘vipers nest’

Colin Brown, 81, applied to make the land a green in 2008, but it was refused by the previous owners.

When Mr and Mrs Ramsden bought their 850-acre farm in the village they also denied the application.

Cornwall council set up a three-day public enquiry in December.

Mrs Ramsden revealed her children were threatened during the dispute and it eventually led to a diagnosis of depression in May 2016.

In 2015 she says she was sent a Christmas card that read: ‘Get f***ed you big s**t.’

Another handwritten note addressed to a friend said: ‘You c***s. Helping Ramsons [sic] over village green. Get f***ed.’

Mrs Ramsden told The Times: ‘It’s hard to understand why people, mainly men, have been allowed to get away so far with bullying and abusive behaviour of this kind.’

She claimed little was done by Devon and Cornwall police to investigate the abuse against her. 

Mrs Ramsden revealed her children were threatened during the dispute and it eventually led to a diagnosis of depression in May 2016. Pictured, one threatening letter

Colin Brown (pictured outside the Saltash Guildhall in Cornwall, 81, applied to make the land a green in 2008, but it was refused by the previous owners

Her husband blasted what he called ‘a pointless and wasteful’ public inquiry that cost the local authority £250,000.

‘A small group of similarly meanspirited nimbys wanted to dictate access on their terms. 

‘This would have excluded visitors camping or youngsters having barbecues or swimming in the creek, none of which we have ever had a problem with … all those responsible should be ashamed,’ he added.

The couple’s refusal to co-operate with those who wanted to control access to the 0.7-acre strip of land soon turned nasty, with vicious letters being send through their door and obscene graffiti painted on walls (pictured)

Mr Ramsden said the couple would try to recover their legal costs and donate them to the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution and a local Saltash charity.

Mr Brown, who publicly condemned the abusive behaviour when asked about it in December, declined to comment on the application being rejected. 

MailOnline has contacted Mr Ramsden and Cornwall Council for comment. 

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