Madonna Wins Fight to Keep Away Hikers
Guy Ritchie and Madonna
Hikers hoping to traipse across Madonna's $16 million English country estate were legally thwarted on Friday, when a government ruling closed down most of her property to strangers, Reuters reports.
The singer and her director husband Guy Ritchie had argued at a public inquiry last month that unrestricted public access to their property in rural Wiltshire and Dorset would destroy their right to a private family life.
Earlier, planners had defined large parts of the estate as open country, meaning hikers – or, as they call them in England, "ramblers" – would be permitted to ramble in and around the area. The property also reportedly contains some of the best pheasant and partridge shooting in England.
Madonna, 45, and Ritchie, 35, bought Ashcombe House, a six-bedroom, 18th century mansion, two years ago. The estate formerly belonged to noted "My Fair Lady" designer and photographer Cecil Beaton.
But on Friday, a government inspector ruled in the couple's favor, meaning that that 15 out of 17 disputed areas of the estate will officially be off-limits to the public.
"As a result of my decision, no land within sight of (their) home will appear on the conclusive map," said the inspector, David Pinner.
The Ramblers' Association, a national group representing walkers, said it accepted the decision, adding, in a statement: "The national walking charity is delighted that half of the land contested at the public inquiry has been classed as open country."
Madonna's spokeswoman in London said the couple would make no comment. The performer is currently on tour here in the U.S.
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