A farming couple are facing the courts in a fight to keep hold of land that has been in their family for generations.

David and Karen Yates, who run Earls Farm on Stitch-Mi-Lane, have been facing an eviction order from Bolton Council since the spring with their battle to keep the land set to come to a head on Thursday.

The land has been in the Yates family for 300 years and the pair say they are determined to keep hold of it.

Karen Yates said: “Well we’ve just been served the court papers.

“We’re defending it and our barrister says we’ve got a very good case, its just that we’ve been dealing with the council up until now and now we’re dealing with the courts.

“But we’re driving it forward.”

David Yates took over the farm as a tenancy farmer after his father William died in 1995.

Since then, it has become well known across the region for a beauty business run by Mrs Yates, a cattery which has recently taken in pets from Ukraine and a business which exports barley straw all over the world.

But the couple were told to leave after they received a letter serving them notices on March 3 this year.

This came after, according to Mrs Yates, part of the land was taken over by Bolton Council all the way back in 2007.

Mrs Yates says that she and David were told they were going to be put on a new contract after building was finished on the new St Catherine’s Academy.

But they then heard nothing more on the matter until 2020.

According to Mrs Yates, the couple believed that an adverse possession order would have allowed them to take official ownership of the land after having occupied it for more than 12 years.

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But Mrs Yates says that the couple were told that they would have to leave by April 30 this year.

Having refused to do so, they will now fight their case at the Manchester Civil Justice Centre.

A spokesperson for Bolton Council said they cannot comment while legal proceedings are underway.