Shadow Environment Minister, Fiona O’Donnell MP, joined the Ramblers in Parliament on Tuesday 24 April to mark the 80th anniversary of the Kinder Scout mass trespass – a historic event which saw hundreds of people risk imprisonment to walk up Kinder Scout in a bid to open up the countryside for all.
The County MP paid 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.
“80 years ago a group of men and women challenged the right of British landowners to refuse the public access to the countryside. Their bravery gave rise to the post-war Labour Government’s creation of national parks and the rights to roam legislation in 2000.
“I was delighted to join the Rambler’s on College Green to mark the 80th anniversary of the mass trespass. Its significance should not be forgotten.”
In April 1932, much of the countryside in England and Wales was closed off to the public. 80 years after this landmark protest, the Ramblers has won the ‘right to roam’, helped to create National Parks and long distance trails but the journey to open up the countryside continues.
Nicky Philpott, Ramblers Director of Campaigns and Policy, said:
“Since the mass trespass on Kinder Scout 80 years ago, people are now free to roam over large swathes of our countryside; we’ve helped to create National Parks, a properly recorded network of footpaths and in May we’ll see the launch of the Wales Coast Path – a world first.
“But the journey those trespassers started is far from over. Our countryside combines rugged mountains and rolling fields, magical forests and meandering waterways and it is sad that not all of these scenic sites can be shared by everyone.
“Ensure that the spirit of the trespassers lives on; join us in our campaign to open up the countryside and make Britain the most walker-friendly nation in the world.”
Notes to editors:
- 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 towards securing these rights in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (CRoW) 2000.
- In Scotland the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 establishes statutory rights of access to most land and inland water. These rights must be exercised responsibly, with guidance on responsible access given in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. Land managers have reciprocal responsibilities to manage their land in a way which respects rights of access. This legislation makes Scotland one of the most walker-friendly countries in Europe.
- The Ramblers is at the heart of walking in Britain; working to promote walking and protect the places where people walk.
- It is Britain’s walking charity. It works to make it easy for everyone to walk, whether in countryside, cities, hills, coasts and on or off the beaten track.
- It has a grass roots network of over 17,000 volunteers who work tirelessly for a walking Britain. For over 75 years it has helped build and protect Britain’s 130,000 mile long path network, it runs over 38,000 walks a year, and campaigns for better walking routes and more walking opportunities
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