Owner of French chateau blocks access to walkers

A row over the closure of a footpath by the new American owner of a chateau in south-west France illustrates the often touchy relationship between property owners and walkers over access to their land.

Walkers found the path, which features on a departmental map of footpaths published to encourage rural tourism, blocked by a chained and padlocked gate.

Before the new owner arrived, the gate, which is in the chateau’s grounds, had been left unlocked, with a simple notice asking walkers to shut it behind them.

New signs forbidding entry have been put up where the footpath moves from the public domain on to the chateau’s grounds, something that is also illegal.

The Château de la Grènerie, at Salon-la-Tour in Corrèze, was sold after the death in 2011 of previous owner Thor Johannessen, a Norwegian millionaire who owned a chain of home decoration shops.

Mayor Jean-Claude Chauffour told Connexion: “It is not as if it is something the new owner did not ...

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