Dirt road access across other peoples land to our dream home...is this a 'no-no' for purchase?

Hello everybody. We have been quietly enjoying the discussion here for some time.

We have found our dream home in the Dordogne but access to the property is a long drive along a dirt track over land that belongs to somebody else. The dirt track is obviously used by hunters in the winter and is surrounded by forest. How do we make sure that we will have free access to the house along this track when we own the house?

Unfortunately the immobilier selling the property is… well… not very good (sigh). We have our own notaire… will she investigate this problem? My understanding is that notaires are not as exhaustive in their searches as solicitors in the UK. Any comments or hints appreciated. Thank you.

Your Notaire needs to identify this “dirt track” and find out who is responsible for its upkeep and to what level. As well as ensuring that you would have the right to use it for access to your property.

I mention this, as I know of folk who were given the choice of 2 tracks to their “dream home”. They chose the track owned by the farmer, over the track for which their Commune was responsible but was a longer way round. They have regretted that decision ever since.

Why would they be? They just want to flog it, bank the fee and move on and anything that gets in the way will be disregarded.

The Notaire is there to collect any tax due for the fisc - not the same rôle as a UK Solicitor.

With immense difficulty.

Shared access is troublesome at the best of times. When the other users are armed to the teeth with shotguns and often pissed out of their boxes on hooch the night before a shoot (often carried over into the day itself) I would be very cautious.


Frankly, I would walk away… there are lots of other properties out there …

but if you do want to go ahead… visit the Mairie and ask the questions… and make sure the Notaire puts everything in writing before you sign anything whatsoever… and make sure you can understand whatever a document says BEFORE signing…!!!


As @Stella says, I would walk away too.
The thought of “quiet” Sunday mornings with wild boar roaring through your land closely followed by an army of drunken gunmen and a few stray bullets whizzing past your kitchen window should have you thinking very carefully about this.


Jeez Graham, this is rural France not Birmingham Broad Street on a sunday morning :smile:


I’m afraid this is NOT your dream home. Your dream home would have its own driveway.
Walk away!


Accès across another person’s land isn’t unusual in rural areas. It’s not a problem for a notaire to investigate and find a solution to - you simply need to be made aware the facts about the right of way. The rest is up to you.

You don’t say if yoj’re looking for a holiday home or a home-home but either way, this may not be a wise first time purchase in France. Shared access sometimes involves asserting your rights. I don’t know how good your French is, you may feel confident in negotiating if needs be with (presumably) the farmer who owns the land , but as Graham has suggested, negotiating with a bunch of pumped up French hunters who you didn’t go to school with and don’t drink with, is not for the faint hearted. I’m not saying you are faint hearted :wink: but I think this would take most newcomers to France well outside their comfort zone.

But it’s your decision. If you’re country folk yourselves and you’re ok with hunting, and might even join the hunt yourself, why not.


Hunting is a part of life in rural france. We don’t have a track to our house, as in a tiny hamlet, but it is surrounded by forest. Yes, sometimes on a Sunday afternoon it can get a bit noisy if they are hunting on the cliff above our house, but we know our local hunt and know how to work around them. If you are looking for an isolated house then it is likely that you will have hunters on your doorstep wherever you are in France.

The access issue is more important to me. As others have said, it’s not “your notaire” as they are public officials and essentially tax collectors. You need to do your own research into who owns the land, what right of access you have, who maintains it and so on.

One thing you can do easily is to identify the track on the cadastral plan, whether it’s identified as a separate track or just part of someone else’s land. If it is not identified as a roadway I would walk away.



Yet another having a pop at immobiliers who frequently work very hard having to contend with ungracious, ignorant and rude clients. Sadly these are most often the English who make enquiries then fail to show the courtesy of replying, expect corners to be cut for them and lack respect for the French method of conduct.

By contrast the French and other Europeans are a pleasure to deal with.

I should be interested to know which hallowed profession you associate yourself with Graham.


it’s not necessarily the noise etc of hunters or whoever… it is the actual state of the track. What might look solid in summer can vanish in winter and passage become impossible. Tractor tyres make ridges in the surface, sometimes so deep they can completely block an ordinary car (know from experience)…

If the Buyer has to pay for the upkeep but has no say over who uses it…mmmm… might be money down the drain… again and again and again…

If the track is owned by the Commune… one needs to identify (yet again) exactly who has to pay for the upkeep as not all commune tracks are maintained by the commune itself, but by the users instead… so might be back to square one…

needs very careful discussions with the Mairie and the Notaire… to get things straight… then make a decision based on the facts (and expenses)


Morning All

Backing up comments by Stella and others, I would seriously rethink this.

We have a friend in our hamlet who had shared access to their property.

The farmer is a very nice bloke but, what with the tractors going up and down in the winter, combined with the herds of cows,the access became a quagmire. As well as being rather smelly.

This is sharing with somebody who is really nice and helpful, would dread to think what it could be if he was a bit obstructive.

Find somewhere else.



For some Brits whp have never lived in the country I think it very much is because they get distressed about hunting and if that’s the case it will ruin the dream. Might not be the case for the OP but he needs to consider how his wife and kids would react to hunters in the garden.

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That’s not been our experience over the last 15 years or so. We’re currently helping two clients sell their houses and have had to put up with rude agents, late appointments and no-shows, just last week I had to re-arrange my working day at short notice to accommodate a viewing only to be told that they’d made a mistake and the viewing was actually for today!

Brits or anyone who have strong views about country life in general… should seriously investigate what controls and access they have for their property.

This is the first thing the OP should do… he states “is obviously used by hunters in winter” and that has not put him off. “hunters in the garden” should be reported to the Chasse Police who view such stuff very seriously… and, yes, they do confiscate guns, fine folk and take away their licences…

Frankly, if someone with a gun appears in my bit of garden, I would phone the gendarmes immediately…

but that can be a bit late if you are already dead from a stray bullet…

Was just raising the issue because there have been enough posts on forums by people who have problems with the hunt. Presumably they all knew they would be living in hunting territory but knowing in theory, turned out to be different from coming face to face with it in reality. Yes you can put signs up, yes you can report them but it doesn’t make for a comfortable relationship with your new community.

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Hunting here is ‘bonkers’, anyone who thinks differently needs help.

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Well we can only speak as we find Timothy. I stand by my comments 100%.
I am sick and tired of answering detailed questions from English buyers only to hear nothing further from them.
I have always been treated cordially by French agents over the years when wearing my buyers hat.


Ha ha… @tim17 don’t mince words… :crazy_face: :grin:

As always… blanket statements are not necessarily accurate… :thinking: there’s good and bad in everything/most things I reckon… the outcome just depends on the mix (in my opinion)