Today is the 80th anniversary of the Kinder Scout mass trespass – a historic event when hundreds of people risked imprisonment to walk up Kinder Scout to open up the countryside for all. In April 1932, much of the countryside in England and Wales was closed off to the public. Now, 80 years after this landmark protest we have the ‘right to roam’, National Parks and long distance trails but the journey to open up the countryside continues.
Natascha Engel MP joined Ramblers at Parliament to pay tribute to those historic trail blazers, commemorate the achievements of the outdoor movement over the last 8 decades and look ahead at the challenges we still face to make Britain the most walking friendly nation in the world.
Natascha Engel said: “I sponsored EDM 2973 because the 1932 Kinder Scout Trespass played an important role highlighting the need for a legal right of access so that ramblers and the wider public can enjoy our open countryside.
The event helped to win public support for the right to access Britain’s countryside and has been credited by Natural England and the Ramblers Association as playing a vital role in the creation of our National Parks in 1949.
It is right, therefore, that we celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Kinder Scout Trespass and I know that the Ramblers Association has organised a number of events to mark this.
The Labour Government enshrined the general right to roam into law when they passed the Countryside and Rights of Way Act in 2000, enabling many people to enjoy our beautiful countryside.
We also extended access to the countryside through the 2009 Marine and Costal Access Act, creating of a Coastal Path throughout England.
My name was the first on the motion because I recognise the important role that the Kinder Scout Trespass played in creating the right to access our countryside. I welcome the progress that has been made on this issue over the past eighty years.”
On Sunday 24 April 1932, ramblers led by members of the British Workers’ Sports Federation took to Kinder Scout in Derbyshire with the intention of making an act of wilful trespass on the gritstone peak. The ramblers met opposition from gamekeepers, with the result that six participants were arrested and five charged with unlawful assembly and breach of the peace. It was seen by many as a catalyst for the ‘right to roam’ movement and the beginnings of the long journey that culminated when the Labour Government secured these rights in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.