The Kinder Trespass: the right to roam is still vital, 90 years on
CPRE Lancashire, Liverpool City Region and Greater Manchester were delighted to support the the celebrations of the 90th anniversary of the Kinder Trespass on 24th April at a time when the right to roam is again in the news.
Our Planning Director, Jackie Copley, attended a guided walk of the Royal Town Planning Institute North West, which started at a rally in Hayfield to highlight the societal importance of the Mass Trespass. On 24th April 1932 hundreds of rebellious ramblers descended on Kinder Scout to “take action to open up the fine country at present denied us”. Six people were arrested at what became known as the Kinder mass trespass, which established the principle of open access land and laid the foundations for the UK’s first national park, the Peak District.
The talks provided fuel for discussion on the actions of those rebels and the beneficial legislation that’s followed. There are contemporary debates around the Right to Roam, including its relevance today in the context of Lord Agnew’s Right to Roam report being shelved last week. There are also differences between the rights of people to swim in Scotland and England. CPRE sees a need to campaign for people to have continued access, in fact more access, to their countryside due to the multiple health and well-being benefits. Caroline Lucas MP after her presentation at the Kinder anniversary celebrations in Hayfield on Saturday also joined the walk.
Walkers heard from David Toft from the Hayfield Kinder Trespass Group on the historical significance of the mass trespass as he led the way to William Clough, through which the infamous group trespassed en route to the Hayfield to Snake footpath. Carrie and Marmaduke Mitchell, the great aunt and uncle of Becca Nelson, our Communications Manager, travelled from Manchester to take part in the trespass in 1932, although as pacifists did not get involved in the hand to hand struggles.
James Richardson an ecologist provided his insights on the biodiversity impacts of environmental land management in the area. The group saw a variety of habitats and species, including a common lizard and a few raptors, including Peregrine Falcons and Buzzards circling the summit of Kinder Scout. Much can be done to restore the peatland and its nature.
Jackie Copley said “It was a spectacular walk, with interesting talks. It was incredibly motivating to see so many people turn out, showing solidarity for the acts of those who bravely fought the establishment to unlock freedoms for us to enjoy our countryside today. I was impressed with the number of black people and people of colour who attended the Kinder in Colour event as for many reasons they have been historically underrepresented and there is a need for increased inclusion in the future. It is clear from last week’s Parliamentary debate that there is still a long way to go to unlock the public benefits of the countryside for everyone. Too much land is off limits. I just wish I had taken my costume, as the water looked so enticing on such a warm sunny day. I think that England should follow Scotland’s example and relax the rules to promote more wild swimming as the case to do so is incredibly strong”.