Kinder Trespass Gets An Annual Do

The first in what it's hoped will be an annual celebration of Kinder Scout and the Mass Trespass will be held in April.

Trespassers set off from Hayfield, 198 kb
Trespassers set off from Hayfield
© Willow Publishing

Last year was the 80th anniversary of this seminal event in the history of public access. A festival marking this milestone (reported here on UKH) generated such enthusiasm that the Kinder & High Peak Advisory Group has now decided to hold an annual bash, to keep the spirit of the trespass alive.

Kinder 80 group chairman Roly Smith said:

'The amount of interest in our event last year convinced us that we should have an annual event to keep this tremendous interest going. So we are proposing an annual Spirit of Kinder Day, the first of which will take place at New Mills on April 27, close to the 81st anniversary of the trespass.'

'It is envisaged that this annual event will take place at different venues in and around the Peak every year, building up to the next major anniversary in 2022.'

The main speaker at New Mills will be the Ramblers president and Open Spaces Society secretary Kate Ashbrook. Keith Warrender, publisher of The Battle for Kinder Scout book, will also give an illustrated talk on the history of the trespass and Jon Stewart, manager of the National Trust's Peak District estate which includes Kinder Scout, will reflect on the Trust's 30 years of ownership of the iconic mountain.

Among the organisations expected to attend are the Ramblers; Sheffield Campaign for Access to Moorland; Peak & Northern Footpath Society; BMC; the National Trust; Peak District National Park Authoity; Peak District Mountain Rescue Organisation; Moors for the Future; Friends of the Peak District (CPRE) and Mosaic community champions.

The occasion will also mark the launch of a Friends of Kinder Trespass membership organisation by the Kinder Visitor Centre Group of Hayfield, which has long-term plans for a trespass-themed visitor centre in Hayfield.

The event takes place at New Mills Town Hall on Saturday, April 27. A full programme will be available on the Trespass website

Kinder Mass Trespass - a potted history

Before the days of public rights of way and a legal right to roam most walking was trespassing, and unpleasant encounters between urban walkers and rural landowners (or their employees) were commonplace. By the 1930s the emergence of walkers' organisations galvanised a more organised mass movement. The events of 24 April 1932 occupy a special place in walking folklore. Frustrated by the hostility of local landowners and a lack of meaningful access rights, 400 or so Peak District ramblers staged a public walk up Kinder Scout. The Mass Trespass had all the trappings of a full-blooded protest: stirring speeches; scuffles with gamekeepers; even arrests. Several participants were jailed, and this perceived injustice boosted the ramblers' cause, sparking other trespass events. The largest of these drew a crowd of 10,000 to Winnat's Pass. Continued pressure by walkers' organisations forced a gradual progress: first the post-war creation of Britain's early National Parks, the establishment of an extensive network of public rights of way and the negotiation of local agreements for access to open country; and eventually the right to roam, albeit circumscribed, that is now enshrined in law in England and Wales (Scotland has much better legislation on this). In the clash between private property and public good, ordinary people have secured for themselves a vital concession - the right to enjoy the countryside that in a sense belongs to us all. But the freedom we now take for granted was hard won and long fought for; and we may never have got here without the trespassers of the 1930s.

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