Monday, 27 February 2012

The Right to Ramble

Celebrating 80 years of open access on Kinder Scout
It’s been 80 years since the scenery of Kinder Scout first inspired working-class ramblers from the industrial cities of Sheffield and Manchester to trespass over its expansive moors. They believed they should have the right to ramble across open country, even if it was owned by someone. The now famous Mass Trespass happened on 24 April 1932, when nearly 500 walkers, locals and members of the ‘Right to Ramble’ organisation gathered to gain access to the local landscape. What followed was a brief but vigorous battle with landowners and gamekeepers who tried to halt their progress, before the walkers victoriously marched on to Ashop Head.

Trespass Trail Map taken from

Several ramblers were later arrested and five of them received jail sentences of several months, on charges of incitement and riotous assembly.

The Mass Trespass had a far-reaching impact and was a pivotal moment in the campaign for better access to the countryside. Its success eventually paved the way for the creation of the National Parks and in 1951, the Peak District National Park was established, opening Kinder Scout to the public for the first time. In 2004 the Countryside Rights of Way Act came into force, giving walkers more rights to roam over open country and common land.

As well as the 80th anniversary of the Mass Trespass, 2012 will also mark 30 years of National Trust ownership of Kinder Scout. This iconic landscape welcomes hundreds of thousands of walkers and other visitors each year. But its popularity can create problems such as erosion, and we need to manage Kinder Scout – and other areas of the Peak District – to preserve their beauty for future generations.

The National Trust, with your help, is restoring vast areas of moorland in these areas by reducing grazing and improving the vegetation by heather seeding and planting cotton grass. Overgrazing and erosion leads to areas of bare peat, which are then in danger of being washed away by heavy rain, forming deep gullies and releasing carbon into the atmosphere. Native moorland plants like cotton grass help to ‘bind’ the loose peat and so prevent further erosion – returning the moors to their former glory.

To mark the anniversary of the Mass Trespass members of the Kinder and High Peak Advisory Committee are organising a week of walks, talks, exhibitions and events at various places, beginning on Tuesday 24 April when there will be a launch event at the Moorland Centre in Edale. Speakers will include Stuart Maconie, writer and broadcaster, Dame Fiona Reynolds, Director General of the National Trust and Kate Ashbrook of the Open Spaces Society. Events will include a re-enactment of the Mass Trespass, with groups of walkers from Hayfield and Edale meeting at Kinder Low.

Full event details will be on the Kinder Trespass website at

In the meantime, you can follow in the footsteps of the 1932 trespassers with our free walk sheet and map. You can retrace their historic route by downloading and printing the walk sheet out before you visit.
By Helen Tuck, Community and Learning Officer


  1. I'm keen to find out more about the anniversary events and hope to come along to one or two.

    Just clicked through to the link for the walk map but it says the page isn't there - can you correct this?!

    thanks :)

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