Fact or fiction?
This brief statement appears on the Ramblers website:
Marking 80 years since Kinder Scout It’s been described as the most significant event in the century-old battle for the right to roam on Britain’s mountains and moors, a right secured in 2000 after decades of campaigning by the Ramblers. On 24 April 1932, a group of several hundred ramblers, risking mantraps and imprisonment, led a mass trespass to Kinder Scout to demonstrate their right to enjoy the countryside. To mark the 80th anniversary Ramblers will hold a week of celebrations including 30 walks in and around the Peak District. Stay tuned for more!This article looks like another myth in the making! Whether intentionally or not, the use of upper case 'R' leaves the casual reader with the impression that the mass trespass was organized by the Ramblers. It was not! The Ramblers' Association did not come into formal existence until 1935, three years after the trespass although a forerunner, the National Council of Ramblers' Federations was formed in September 1931.This is what the late Tom Stephenson, the first salaried secretary of the RA, wrote on pp153-4 of 'Forbidden Land; the Struggle for Access to Mountain and Moorland' which was published by the Ramblers' Association in 1989.'[The Kinder Scout trespass] contributed little, if anything to [the access to the mountains campaign]. Once the indignation roused by the severe prison sentences had subsided, the public interest soon faded. The truth is that there never was a mass trespass. No-one reached the summit of Kinder Scout and the so-called victory meeting was held on a public path at Ashop Head....The demonstration was organized by an ephemeral body, the British Workers' Sports Federation (BWSF}, an appendage of the Communist Party; by men not known to have evinced any interest in the access problem, and who did not, in fact, play any part in the subsequent campaign. Doubts as to the value of the exercise...may have led...the National Council of Ramblers' Federations to stand aloof...the Manchester and District Ramblers' Federation made the following declaration: "Mass trespass; - the Manchester and District Ramblers' Federation wishes to state as definitely as possible, that it had no part in the events which took place at Hayfield and on Kinder Scout on April 24, and that it had no connection whatsoever with the organization responsible for the happenings on that day..."'Hugh
Click here for a sneak preview of the 5th edition of my book The Walker’s Handbook; Everything you Need to Know about Walking in the British Isles to be published in May 2015.
There was always a de facto 'right to roam' in Scotland before it became 'legal'.
Why would we need footpaths, if we can walk anywhere we like?
So the Kinder trespass was just a commie action and the dignified Ramblers of the late 80's wanted nothing to do with it...yeah...
Maybe the Kinder Trespass was not the major breakthrough for the right to roam but it provided a catylist for others to carry on with the fight for access. In the Sheffield area people were trespassing as a group named SCAM ( Sheffield Campaign for Access to Moorland) right through the 80's and 90's with trespasses on the Kinder, Bamford, Bleaklow and Broomhead moors around Sheffield. A lovely book exists as "Right To Roam" ISBN 0-901100-60-9 which makes very interesting reading.
The work of folks like GHB Ward of Clarion Ramblers fame did sterling work in campaigning and documenting rights of way (existing, lost and ancient) around the Peak District.
Landowners were far from innocent in all of this; blocking ancient footpaths and bridleways whilst removing ancient guidestones.
Sometimes politics would like us all to forget what people have won the rights to in the past
You are still mixing up England with Britain, Hugh.
Working class folk up in Scotland were happily escaping the poverty of the cities to camp in the Highlands, and push up new routes on many famous Scottish crags. No problem with access.
Look into the history of the Creag Dhu club.
Quite a story there Hugh, my mistake and I consider myself duly told!
Oh absolutely, I was just worried it was some kind of revisionist take based on the politics of the trespassers. I was entirely mistaken, thank you to put me right!
Interesting bit about Scotland too, surprised to read it's not the land of milk and honey access wise Mike likes to describe
Something intrigues me Hugh, it's quite clear the working-classes were hugely influential in opening up the country for pleasure walking yet nowadays there seems to be the impression that the great outdoors is some kind of middle-class pursuit. I just wonder if there has been a gentrification of our hobby or if it's mainly a myth?
Sorry Hugh, but you're wrong. De facto access in Scotland happened well before the 1960's!
The English parliament may have brought in laws, but those bits of paper were unread and ignored up here.
Like i said, look into the history of the Creag Dhu club.
You couldn't meet more law adiding folk than my father and grandfather, yet they walked the Scottish hills without any problems. I would think that would be at least back to the 1920's.
Hugh Westacott wrote (see)
.3 Scotland was the only place in the world where people were prevented from walking freely over uncultivated land.
Sorry Hugh, but what a load of shite!
I can just picture african bushmen saying, "oh no, we're not allowed!"
Methinks you need to get out a bit more. Slip the nurse a fiver.
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