Mike Harding leading the singing of The Manchester Rambler, supported by the Chapel-en-le-Frith Male Voice Choir, complete in walking boots
By TGO Staff
"We must keep the Kinder trespassers’ torch aflame," declared Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, speaking at the launch of the 80th anniversary celebrations of the Kinder Scout Mass Trespass.
The Kinder 80 Festival was launched today (Tuesday 24 April) by author and broadcaster Stuart Maconie at the Moorland Centre, Edale, with TGO's Carey Davies and Jim Perrin in attendance. Other speakers at the event included BBC Radio 2’s Mike Harding and Dame Fiona Reynolds, Director General of the National Trust.
Kate Ashbrook, who is also vice-president of the Ramblers, made an impassioned address, urging: "We cannot be complacent, we cannot treat Kinder as mere history. The threats which the trespassers fought are still very much with us, but in a different guise. We are in uncertain times, when finance comes before freedoms. In England, we do not know the future of the public forest estate, we have no indication from the government when the coastal-access law will be fully implemented, new planning laws threaten green spaces, and a law change could threaten our ability to register land as village greens.
"‘While the Kinder trespass led, 70 years later, to the Countryside and Rights of Way Act which gives us responsible freedom to roam on open country in England and Wales, we still cannot gain access to some of that land because there are no legal routes to it, and in lowland England and Wales not much land was mapped for access anyway
"Scotland has access laws which are the envy of us all. However, gaining new access in England and Wales is increasingly difficult, and we must campaign to keep what we have. We never know when the Kinder spirit must be rekindled. That’s why we must keep that torch alight."
A revised and updated version of Benny Rothman’s book on the Kinder Trespass, published by Willow Publishing, is also being launched today, and tomorrow a group of Manchester and Sheffield ramblers, some of them dressed in 1930s kit, will stage a re-enactment walk from Hayfield and Edale, meeting up for a victory celebration. Other events planned for this week include talks, led walks and a Trespass-themed ceilidh.
As Jim Perrin recalls in the current (May) issue of TGO, the 1932 Kinder Mass Trespass was "the crucial and defining event in the struggle for access to Britain's wild land" which eventually led to the freedom to roam legislation brought in through the 200 CROW Act and the creation of National Parks.