Walkers on Kinder Scout, now a national nature reserve

Walkers on Kinder Scout, now a national nature reserve

Kinder Scout, the upland plateau at the centre of the historic fight for access to England’s mountains, is to become a national nature reserve.

The news was announced during a day of events to commemorate the late chair of Natural England, Sir Martin Doughty. Sir Martin himself joined ramblers at the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the mass trespass on Kinder which was held in April 2007.

Ramblers set off for the mass trespass in 1932

Ramblers set off for the mass trespass in 1932

Sir Martin died of cancer last year. He was a champion of walkers’ rights and lived in the shadow of Kinder Scout, the Peak District’s highest fell and scene of the 1932 confrontation between radical young ramblers from Manchester and gamekeepers on the Duke of Devonshire’s estate which led to the jailing of Benny Rothman and four others. The events on Kinder were instrumental in the gradual opening up of the English and Welsh uplands that culminated in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act in 2000.

Now, the 700ha (1,730-acre) area has been given nature-reserve status in recognition of its environmental importance, home to hen harriers, peregrine falcons and mountain hares among its peat hags and groughs.

A mountan hare on Kinder Scout

A mountan hare on Kinder Scout

National nature reserves are the cream of England’s sites of special scientific interest and represent places where the rarest wildlife and geology are found. They were originally set up as ‘outdoor laboratories’ for research.

Poul Christensen, acting chair of Natural England, said: “Martin would have been delighted that his beloved Kinder Scout has achieved this status. He worked tirelessly to improve access to our natural environment so that everyone could enjoy it as he did.

“National nature reserves are selected to build up a balanced network of the best examples of England’s natural heritage, of which Kinder Scout is definitely one. As one of the most famous upland sites in England it offers an excellent platform to promote engagement amongst the general public about the need to conserve and improve our upland habitats”.

Mr Christensen said the designation of the area would help to provide even more opportunities for visitors to discover this dramatic landscape.

Mike Innerdale, the National Trust’s Peak District general manager said: “Kinder Scout is an iconic part of the Peak District that is enjoyed by millions of visitors each year and The National Trust strongly supports the declaration of the site as a national nature reserve. Kinder is an area that provides a great opportunity for people to enjoy the countryside and experience nature, NNR status will help us to provide even more opportunities for visitors to discover this dramatic landscape.”

The 636m (2,087ft) fell is the first high ground faced by walkers attempting the Pennine Way, which runs from Edale, 4km (2½ miles) south-east of its highest point, to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish borders.

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