View from the Kinder Scout

Walking Kinder Scout in Derbyshire

5, Jul 2019 | Derbyshire, Peak District

Kinder Scout Mass Trespass plaqueThe Kinder Scout Mass Trespass

It is hard to imagine that up until relatively recently the right to roam was much more restricted in England than it is today. This significant change is attributable, in large part, to the 1932 Kinder Scout mass trespass.

In April 1932, Benny Rothman and around 400 others set out to trespass on Kinder Scout, a protest against the way the general public were denied access to the UK countryside. Class was also a factor. Those who were part of the establishment had far more, if not free, access to large areas of land. But for the majority this was not the case.

Many of the protesters were from Manchester and Sheffield and their actions are often described as ‘the most successful direct action in British history’. At the time of the trespass the land was owned mainly by a very small number of gentry and was mainly used for grouse hunting. The idea of the public roaming across the area was unheard of.

As a result of the trespass, Rothman and five other men were arrested and four imprisoned as a result of their actions. This sparked the start of the campaign to open Britain’s countryside for the general public to enjoy. Quickly the numbers involved went from the hundreds to thousands. Advances were made but it was several decades later when the Government passed the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (2000). The Act granted public right of way across the UK’s countryside and credit for this is clearly in part down to the actions of the young trespassers of Kinder Scout back in 1932.

The UK National Parks

Another positive impact of the lobbying that followed the protest led to the establishment of the National Parks. The in 1951, was the Peak District National Park, Britain’s first. There are now 15 national parks covering large areas of the UK. As well as providing landscapes to support a range of habitats our national parks offer great spaces to enjoy the countryside. In today’s busy world the space and tranquillity of the parks are positive for both physical and mental well-being.

Moorland visitor centre at Edale

Looking after Kinder

Today the National Trust manages and cares for Kinder Scout. Since 1982, the National Trust has been encouraging wildlife, adding trees and shrubs in the valleys nearby and restoring peat bogs. The bogs play an important role in carbon capture and are important for much of the wildlife.

The BE KINDER walking trail

Today marks the launch of the BE KINDER walking trail. The trail has been created with musician Jarvis Cocker, artist Jeremy Deller and local community groups. The trail starts at the café next to Edale station. It takes around three hours to complete and is based on the route followed by those involved in the mass trespass. Along the way are some art surprises. The aim of the trail is to encourage walkers to think about being kind to this incredible natural habitat and showing respect for those who fought for our right to roam. There is an hourly train service in the Sheffield to Manchester line or by cycling, another way to BE KINDER to the environment. View the BE KINDER map 1 and map 2

If you decide to visit Kinder Scout in Derbyshire we can provide B&B at Glendon or if you are visiting as part of a group we can offer self-catering accommodation for up to 12 people at Derwent House.

Other articles you may be interested in