Ramblers vice-presidents Paddy Tipping, Janet Street-Porter, Kate Ashbrook and Jerry Pearlman at Stalling Busk, where they gathered to celebrate the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the Ramblers' work there on the freedom-to-roam legislation

Ramblers vice-presidents Paddy Tipping, Janet Street-Porter, Kate Ashbrook and Jerry Pearlman at Stalling Busk, where they gathered to celebrate the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the Ramblers' work there on the freedom-to-roam legislation

Campaigners have paid tribute to a luminary of the outdoor access movement who died recently.

Jerry Pearlman’s work paved the way for the right-to-roam legislation introduced by the last Labour government.

Mr Pearlman of Leeds was formerly honorary solicitor of the Ramblers, and was at the forefront of securing rights for walkers.

A Ramblers spokesperson said: “Jerry saved countless paths, in the courts and at public inquiries; he helped local path volunteers develop their expertise and advised the Ramblers and other organisations on how to make best use of the law.

“He drafted the right-to-roam legislation which later became the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

“He served for 18 years on the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, latterly as deputy chair; he was a trustee of the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, a founder member and trustee of the Yorkshire Dales Society and vice-president of the Ramblers and of its West Riding area.”

Last October, campaigners who had fought for legal access to open country met at Mr Pearlman’s cottage at Stalling Busk in Raydale in the Yorkshire Dales. There they unveiled a plaque to commemorate the work, led by him, in planning for the legislation that increased the amount of access land in the Dales from four per cent to 62 per cent overnight.

Ex-Nottinghamshire MP and Ramblers’ vice-president, Paddy Tipping, who led the successful access campaign in parliament, said: “Jerry will be remembered for many things but his real legacy will be the vital role he played in securing access to open countryside through the Countryside and Rights of Way Act. It was not easy; he produced countless drafts of the bill for me and colleagues.

“He persuaded civil servants to adopt his ideas. He was vigorous with the legislation’s opponents. I remember standing on the fells overlooking Swaledale with the secretary of the Moorland Association, which represented grouse-moor owners, who told us that we should tell the Ramblers that linear access on defined routes was the best way forward.

“Jerry’s response was explosive and unprintable! We owe him so much; what a gift he left us all.”

Vice-president of the Ramblers’ West Riding area, Colin Speakman said: “Jerry was one of the great campaigners for our rights of way, the right to roam and the protection of the countryside.

“Those of us fortunate enough to know him will always remember his infectious sense of humour, his zest for life, and his passion for the Yorkshire Dales.”

Kate Ashbrook, a vice-president of the Ramblers, added: “Jerry was a great figure in our movement. He will be remembered with affection and admiration, as an inspiration to all who campaign for our rights and freedoms to the land.”

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