Ramblers set off on the 1932 mass trespass

Ramblers set off on the 1932 mass trespass

Ramblers will gather tomorrow to keep alive the spirit of pioneers of access to the countryside.

It is 81 years since a group of walkers took to the Peak District’s highest hill and ended up battling the Duke of Devonshire’s gamekeepers in what became known as the Kinder Scout Mass Trespass.

The Ramblers’ president Kate Ashbrook, herself a tenacious advocate for countryside access, will address a meeting in the Peak District to mark the trailblazing Benny Rothman and his followers, who were jailed for their part in the action.

A spokesperson for the walkers’ charity said: “In April 1932, much of the countryside in England and Wales was closed off to the public and hundreds of people risked imprisonment to walk up Kinder Scout as part of a mass trespass to open up the countryside.

“This Saturday the historic event will be remembered in a Spirit of Kinder day, celebrating how much has been achieved and how the spirit to ensure all people can access the countryside lives on.”

Ms Ashbrook will join organisers of the event at New Mills Town Hall. The Ramblers said their president will show how the trespassers’ spirit lives on in the Ramblers work to open up the coast as part of its One Coast for All campaign, increase access to forests and protect and improve the country’s network of paths.

Kate Ashbrook said: “The mass trespass on Kinder Scout was a crucial catalyst in the campaign for greater freedom.

Kate Ashbrook: 'crucial catalyst for freedom'. Photo: Andrew McCloy

Kate Ashbrook: 'crucial catalyst for freedom'. Photo: Andrew McCloy

“Now we can walk legally over swathes of our countryside. Since the Kinder trespass we’ve helped to create national parks, a properly recorded network of public paths and national trails across the country, but the journey the trespassers started is not over yet.

“The threats to our countryside and our access to it continue to come thick and fast.

“The trespassers’ spirit to open up the countryside must be kept alive so that future generations can enjoy access to our rugged mountains and rolling hills, our rivers and our forests.

“Across the country Ramblers volunteers work tirelessly in this vein, clearing paths and working to protect and improve access to the countryside for all to enjoy.

“This weekend we remember the brave Kinder trespassers who blazed the trail to freedom to roam and the many people who have followed in their footsteps, striving to open up the countryside.”

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

Keith Warrender, publisher of The Battle for Kinder Scout, will 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 mountain.

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