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Curtilage

This means the legal boundary to the land which accompanies a dwelling house. It is not necessarily the line of the fences or walls but may extend to the edge of the roadway – or even to the centre of the road if it is unadopted (q.v.).

Where a river or stream runs along a boundary the curtilage may be in the centre of the water-course, or the far bank – when the owner will have riparian rights. However, if the curtilage were to lie on the near bank the owner has no right to draw water, to boat or to fish unless specified otherwise in the Deeds.

Incidentally, when a drainage ditch has been constructed and a hedge planted along the edge there is a strong presumption that the ditch belongs to the land owner who owns the hedge. In other words the boundary lies beyond the hedge and across the ditch.

Normally a plan showing the exact curtilage of a residential property will be available from the Land Registry (q.v.) although these are often to a small scale and less helpful. Ideally the present owner will know exactly.

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