50th ANNIVERSARY: WHY AND HOW IT HAPPENED
As far as we can establish the 1932 mass trespass was not publicly celebrated until the 50th anniversary in April 1982. We are fortunate to have acquired a detailed account of how that event came about, written in 2021 by Julian Batsleer who was heavily involved in the planning of that 1982 anniversary.
Since 1982 the practice of regular anniversary celebrations has become established. The next was in 1992 (60th); then 2002 (70th); 2007 (75th); 2012 (80th). Since 2012 there has been an annual celebration on the nearest weekend to 24th April, called “Spirit of Kinder”, organised by Kinder and High Peak Advisory Group, in a variety of locations from Sheffield to Manchester, including Edale, New Mills, Castleton and Hayfield itself. Since 2016 there has also been an annual celebration in Hayfield, arranged by Hayfield Kinder Trespass Group. Accounts of these events can be found lower down this section, after the article about the 50th.
Below is a short extract from Julian’s article about how the 50th anniversary was planned.
“The central organiser and co-ordinator was an energetic, retired Benny Rothman. Being an experienced trade union and political organiser, he deftly wove together a wide range of individuals and groups to do all the work that was necessary to make such an event happen. He managed to involve prominent and established figures in the outdoor movement, alongside an enthusiastic group of young activist climbers and walkers drawn primarily from an array of radical political groups.
What was put together was an event which spoke to the traditions of the outdoor access movement more widely and celebrated achievements such as the Peak District National Park; at the same time it was up-front about the political resonances of the Mass Trespass in both 1932 and 1982. Mixed in with the celebration of the Trespass and access gains generally was a clear campaigning element of “unfinished business”. It is also important to note that, in the conception and planning of the event, Benny Rothman deliberately sought to involve representatives from the organisations which had vilified the trespass in 1932 and had kept their distance from Benny and anything to do with the trespass ever since. So, for instance, Don Lee of Peak and Northern Footpaths Society became a central figure. As were people from the RA – nationally and in Sheffield (see below).”
Julian Batsleer, written in 2021.
‘Spirit of Kinder’ Trespass Anniversary: April 2016 Hayfield
If the walkers on the 1932 Mass Trespass on Kinder Scout took the same action today, they would probably be labelled as extremists, and ‘kettled’ before they got out of the car park.Carey Davies
That was the view of Carey Davies, the British Mountaineering Council’s Hill Walking Development Officer, speaking at the fourth annual Spirit of Kinder event held at The Royal Hotel, Hayfield on Saturday (April 23).
The event was organised jointly by the Kinder Visitor Centre Group and the Kinder & High Peak Advisory Committee. A highlight was the moving readings by pupils from New Mills College and Hayfield Primary School, describing their feelings of freedom after a walk on Kinder.
Dave Toft of the KVCG outlined the story and background to the trespass, and claimed that Kinder Scout and access to its moors was the childrens’ birthright. “But according to figures from Natural England, only 8.7 per cent of the country still has free access. So as Benny Rothman would say, our work is not complete.”
Carey Davies explained that the longing for a vision of the land, “for a sense of space and a sense of place,” was universal, describing a recent walk he took through war-torn Palestine.
He added: “With the benefit of hindsight, the Kinder Trespass has now become heritage; an act which mainstream politicians and respectable organisations now feel comfortable endorsing.
“But let’s take a closer look at it. There were 400 young people, many of them unemployed, led by people from ethnic and religious minorities, all following a radical ideology. We shouldn’t lose sight of just how challenging and provocative it was.”
There were still barriers of access, social background, ethnicity, gender, mental illness or disability which prevented many people in this country from knowing the lasting satisfaction of a long walk or a hard climb. He said the BMC was working in partnership with other organisations to try and do what it could to help people overcome these barriers, and crowdfunding campaigns like the BMC’s Mend Our Mountains were repairing badly-eroded paths, such as that below Ringing Roger on Kinder.
“Too many people live lives without landscape, in nondescript and forgotten places which foster a sense of marginalisation and contempt,” said Carey. “Access to the outdoors has to be seen as part of a social whole. I believe the Kinder Trespassers understood this well. Their struggle was always part of a struggle for something bigger.”
Philip Pearson, former Senior Policy Officer at the TUC, and a keen hillwalker, spoke about Benny Rothman’s work as a trade union organiser, in addition to his being the leader of the Kinder trespass.
He said that the environment and climate change were major issues for trade unions today, which he felt Benny would have well understood, and he outlined was unions were doing about it. He added that a local pupil had written: “Freedom means everything to me – it allows me to be the person I am.” Philip said: “This said everything about Benny Rothman, the leader of the trespass.”
Mark Metcalf, author of a new biography of Rothman, explained that Rothman’s four months imprisonment was not wasted, because while he was there he learnt shorthand, which stood him in good stead in his future life as a union negotiator.
Musical interludes were provided by respected folk singer Brian Peters, who led the traditional final singing of Ewan MacColl’s Manchester Rambler.
Jan Gillett, son of one of the imprisoned trespassers and 86-year-old Alan Edwards of Stockport, who as a two-year-old had been carried there by his elder sister, unveiled a commemorative plaque which will eventually form part of a Trespass Trail. Exhibitions of work by local children and local artist Sarah Morley were held in the Village Hall. On Sunday (April 24) walks were led on the trespass route.
Among the organisations attending the event were the Ramblers; Sheffield Campaign for Access to Moorland; British Mountaineering Council; the National Trust; Hayfield Civic Trust; Sustainable Hayfield; the Kinder Mountain Rescue team and Friends of the Peak District (CPRE).
‘Spirit of Kinder Day’ 2015
KINDER AND HIGH PEAK ADVISORY COMMITTEE
ERODING THE IDEA OF TRESPASS
English ramblers were encouraged to start “a steady erosion of the concept of trespass in the countryside” at the third annual Spirit of Kinder Day at Edale on Saturday (April 25).
Dave Morris, former director of Ramblers Scotland, suggested that if walkers wanted to see the benefits of Scottish access legislation in the English countryside, they should start stepping off rights of way.
“It applies whether you are walking, cycling, horseriding, skiing, birdwatching, botanising, star-gazing or doing whatever non-motorised activity appears to be appropriate,” said Dave. “As long as you take responsibility for your own actions, respect the interests of other people, and care for the environment, you will eventually demolish the concept of trespass.”
The second action which he proposed was the production of an English version of the proven Scottish Outdoor Access Code, which had been in effect since the passing of the Scottish Land Reform Act in 2003.
He added: “We currently have the absurd situation where in Scotland, I can walk down the edge of a field, along a tramline made by a tractor, or along the bare ground between vegetable crops, and know that I am complying with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, and have the statutory right to do so.
“Suppose, however, that halfway across the field I cross the Border into England. Suddenly many will claim that the landowner can accuse me of being a ‘trespasser’, order me to leave the field and use so-called ‘reasonable force’ to compel me to do so.
“How is it,” asked Dave, “that I am apparently doing no damage to the crop north of the Border but appear to be creating havoc with the same crop in the same field when I step into England?”
The Spirit of Kinder event, organised by the Kinder & High Peak Advisory Committee (KHPAC) at Edale Village Hall, also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Pennine Way, which starts in Edale.
Other keynote speakers were Chris Townsend, the British Mountaineering Council’s first-ever hill-walking ambassador; Chris Sainty, chairman of the Pennine Way Association, who reflected on the PW from its origins to its inception, and Ann Beedham, Sheffield author and illustrator, who gave an illustrated talk on walking, and trespassing, in the Peak in the 1920s, based on the words and photographs of George Willis Marshall.
A lively open forum on future access provision and the Scottish model was led by Chris Townsend, Dave Morris and Chris Sainty, before young members of Sheffield’s Woodcraft Folk, led by Kat Budd, closed proceedings with the traditional singing of Ewan MacColl’s Manchester Rambler.
Plans are already being formulated for next year’s event to be held in Hayfield, the starting point of the Mass Trespass in 1932.
‘Spirit of Kinder’ Day 2014
On Saturday 26th April 2014 we attended the Spirit of Kinder Day in Sheffield Town Hall.
COUNTRYSIDE ‘NOT A LUXURY’
Open country, green spaces and public paths are not a luxury but a vital need, claimed Kate Ashbrook, president of the Ramblers and general secretary of the Open Spaces Society at the annual Spirit of Kinder Day on Saturday (April 26).
“The governments of England and Wales are attacking our green spaces, making it almost impossible for local people to register them as town or village greens to secure their rights to enjoy them,” said Kate, speaking to an audience of 200 at Sheffield Town Hall.
“The cuts in local authority funding and the obsession with development mean that budgets for maintaining, creating and recording public paths have been slashed. The national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty have to make do with ever-shrinking funds to protect our top landscapes.
“It’s time that the government recognised that these places contribute massively to our health and well-being, as well as bringing income to the rural economy. We are not a fringe group, we are mainstream. We change lives and we save lives.”
Kate added: “We must reignite the campaigning zeal of the Kinder trespassers. Times are tough for countryside campaigners, but the spirit of Kinder will carry us through. The Kinder trespassers and those before them changed the world. We can too, as we follow in their footsteps.”
Other speakers included John Mothersole, chief executive of Sheffield City Council, who explained that a third of the city was within the Peak District National Park, and half of its area was moorland. “So the spirit of Sheffield and the spirit of Kinder is very much the same thing. The trespass was a national scene-changer, and a lot of it started in Sheffield.”
And he echoed Kate’s view that for Sheffield, in its role as “the city of outdoor adventure”, meant both income for the city and jobs for its citizens. “We are not re-kindling the flame of the trespass here today – it is still alive and never went out in Sheffield.”
Two teenage members of the Sheffield Woodcraft Folk, Felix James and Angus Bruce, and their leader Kat Budd read first-hand accounts of the “forgotten” Abbey Brook trespass in which 200 members took part five months after the more publicised Kinder Scout trespass in 1932.
Other speakers included archaeologist Bill Bevan, who described Mesolithic hunters’ “killing grounds” on the watershed between William Clough (the 1932 trespass route onto Kinder Scout) and River Ashop, where large collections of flints have been found. Annabelle Kennedy of the Sheffield Wildlife Trust, outlined the pioneering work of the Sheffield Moors Partnership, which she described as “the UK’s leading model” on the way uplands should be managed in the future.
There were also displays by the Ramblers; the Sheffield Campaign for Access to Moorland; the British Mountaineering Council; the National Trust; the Kinder Visitor Centre Group and the Sheffield Moors Partnership.
The event was rounded off by the traditional singing of Ewan MacColl’s Manchester Rambler, led by Neil Schofield.
Kinder 81: THE SPIRIT OF KINDER, 2013
SPIRIT OF KINDER LIVES ON
The first in what is hoped will be an annual celebration of Kinder Scout and the Mass Trespass was held at New Mills Town Hall on Saturday, April 27, 2013.
The occasion marked the launch of a Friends of Kinder Trespass scheme by the Kinder Visitor Centre Group, of Hayfield, which has long-term plans for a trespass visitor centre in Hayfield.
The Kinder & High Peak Advisory Group decided that such was the enthusiasm engendered by the 80th anniversary celebrations last year, the event should become annual to keep the Spirit of Kinder and the trespass alive.
The main speaker at New Mills was the Ramblers president and Open Spaces Society secretary Kate Ashbrook. Keith Warrender, publisher of The Battle for Kinder Scout book, gave 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, reflected on the Trust’s 30 years of ownership of the iconic mountain.
Among the organisations attending are the Ramblers (National, Sheffield and Manchester); Sheffield Campaign for Access to Moorland; Peak & Northern Footpath Society; British Mountaineering Council; the National Trust; Peak District National Park Authoity; Peak District Mountain Rescue Organisation; Moors for the Future, Friends of the Peak District (CPRE) and Mosaic community champions.
Benny Rothman Blue Plaque – 24th October 2012
On 24th October 2012, a blue plaque was unveiled in honour of Benny Rothman, who was fondly remembered as a life-long campaigner, a rambler, a father and a friend. Benny Rothman was the leader of the mass trespass on Kinder Scout in 1932
It was in 2000 that the Countryside and Rights of Way Act was finally enshrined in law allowing the right to roam which Benny fought so hard for. The plaque in honour of Benny was unveiled at his home of 58 years on Crofton Avenue, Timperley, where he continued to campaign.
M.E.N. columnist Roly Smith, who knew Benny for 20 years said: “He was always fighting for more rights of access. He even fought to keep the right of way alongside his house, and he won that one too. He was a tremendous campaigner. It is very fitting to remember someone who did so much for so many people. The freedom that we have got is all down to Benny.
“I once went for a walk with him on the trespass route. He was in his 70s at the time but he still walked like a train, I couldn’t keep up. I loved him, a lot of people did.”
Timperley residents and ramblers gathered at the special ceremony and spoke of Benny’s achievements.
Jerry Pearlman, of the Ramblers Association, said: “For so many years Benny Rothman has been an utter hero to me.”
“He caused me to get interested in the access movement. One of the proudest moments of my life was to find out I was on a ramble with his son.”
The plaque in memory of Benny was unveiled by his children, Professor Harry Rothman and Marion Thilo.
Professor Rothman recalled fond memories of his childhood at the house. He said: “I think people along this street would remember Benny most for his ability to shout to me to come home for my dinner. Like father like son, I did tend to wander off.
“We’re tremendously proud and delighted that this plaque has been offered as a tribute to him by Trafford Council.”
Mrs Thilo remembered her father as a quirky man. She said: “When everyone else went to church in their Sunday best our father was taking us out into the countryside in our walking gear.
My father was very modest about his work with the outdoor movement. He would have said: ‘I haven’t done this on my own”
Cllr. Jonathan Coupe, of Trafford council, said: “We are so very proud that this plaque will be unveiled here in Timperley. To have such a plaque in your name means you have made a big impression on society. It’s because of Mr Rothman that we are able to enjoy our countryside as freely as we can today.”
Kinder 80: Trespass to Treasure
The 80th anniversary of the Mass Kinder Trespass took place in 2012. During the anniversary week nearly 30 walks, talks and other events took place in and around the Peak District.
The Kinder 80 Festival was launched by author and broadcaster Stuart Maconie at the Moorland Centre, Edale, on Tuesday, April 24. Other speakers included BBC Radio 2’s Mike Harding; Dame Fiona Reynolds, Director General of the National Trust, and Kate Ashbrook, secretary of the Open Spaces Society and vice-president of the Ramblers.
The 1932 Mass Trespass, after which five ramblers were imprisoned for exercising their right to walk on the moors, has been called the most significant event in the century-old battle for the Right to Roam. It was an iconic event not only for freedom to roam legislation, finally achieved by the CROW Act of 2000, but for the creation of our National Parks, of which the Peak District was the first in 1951.
Chairman of the Kinder 80 committee Roly Smith commented: “The Trespass anniversary has become an important date in the outdoor calendar, and many people believe that the sacrifice made 80 years ago by these ramblers should never be forgotten. But we also want to look forward to what has been achieved on Kinder since then.”
A sub-committee of the Kinder and High Peak Advisory Committee, representing the Peak District National Park Authority; Derbyshire County Council; the National Trust, the Ramblers, the British Mountaineering Council and the Sheffield Campaign for Access to Moorland, organised the week of activities.
A revised and updated version of leader Benny Rothman’s book on the trespass, published by Willow Publishing, was launched at the event on April 24.
To see what the 80th Anniversay week had to offer take a look at the event programme where you will also find the words to the Manchester Rambler:
80th Anniversary Launch Event
The Mass Trespass on Kinder Scout in 1932 should be part of every school’s history curriculum, best-selling author and broadcaster Stuart Maconie claimed as he launched the Kinder 80 Festival at Edale on Tuesday (April 24 2012).
“It is as significant an event in our history as any coronation of a king or queen, and it should be taught in every school,” Stuart told the assembled audience of about 200 ramblers and countryside officials gathered at The Moorland Centre, Edale.
Stuart praised the actions of Benny Rothman and his fellow trespassers of 80 years ago, claiming that the event – which resulted in the imprisonment of five ramblers – originated from the long-standing tradition of dissent and idealism which existed in the rambling movement.
Stuart echoed the same point about the importance of telling young people about the trespass made by Dame Fiona Reynolds, director-general of the National Trust. Addressing the children of Edale and Hayfield Primary Schools, who had produced artwork commemorating the event, she said: “You are the most important people here today.
“It is sobering to think that, unlike you, one in five children in this country don’t get the chance to go out into the countryside. We are paying tribute today to the iconic event of 80 years ago which gave us places like Kinder Scout where we can all enjoy the freedom of the hills.”
Kate Ashbrook, newly-elected president of the Ramblers’ Association and general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, told the audience: “We must keep the Kinder trespassers’ torch aflame. We cannot be complacent. The threats which the trespassers fought are still very much with us, but in a different guise. We live in uncertain times, when finance comes before freedom.”
The launch ended with the singing of the traditional walkers’ anthem, Ewan MacColl’s Manchester Rambler, led by compère BBC Radio 2’s Mike Harding and the Chapel-en-le-Frith Male Voice choir, complete in uniform – and walking boots. “The best backing group I’ve ever had!” quipped Mike.
Star of the show was surviving mass trespasser 96-year-old George Haigh, formerly of Stockport, who travelled up from his home in Oxfordshire to be present. “It’s wonderful people are remembering what we did,” he said. “The right to get out and be in the countryside is as important today as it was back then.”
Also present were two children of the jailed ramblers on the 1932 trespass. Harry Rothman is the son of the trespass leader Benny Rothman, who received four months’ imprisonment, and Jan Gillett, son of the then-student Tona Gillett, who was imprisoned for two months.
Chairman of the Kinder 80 committee Roly Smith commented: “I was delighted that our speakers put the emphasis on young people. There is still much to be done in achieving the right to walk in places like our English coastline and in our forests.
“Benny Rothman and his pals would not be resting on our laurels now we have the right to roam in open country. We should have the same rights as those enjoyed in Scotland the rest of the Europe.”
Red Pepper Article
You can read a Kinder Trespass 80th Anniversary article from Red Pepper here.
Please note: the URL (web address) for this website, quoted at the end of the article, has been updated since the article was originally published.
75th Anniversary Events
The Mass Trespass on Kinder Scout 75 years ago has been described as the most significant event in the century-old battle for the Right to Roam on Britain’s mountains and moors, a right now enshrined in the 2000 Countryside and Rights of Way Act.
Trespassers are Celebrated
Environment Secretary David Miliband paid a glowing tribute to the 400 ramblers who 75 years ago exercised their right to roam on the Peak District moors, which later resulted in prison sentences for five of them.
Speaking on Saturday 21 April 2007 at the 75th anniversary celebrations at New Mills of the Kinder Scout Mass Trespass, Mr Miliband said that without the action of the trespassers, the nation would not have the National Parks nor freedom to roam on mountain and moorland which the 22 million annual visitors to the Peak enjoy today.
Confirming the Government’s support for the next step of opening up England’s coastline to public access, he explained: “We sometimes like to think that the thinking of politics is ahead of that of the people. There can be no doubt that in the 1930s, the politics were way behind the people, and the trespassers showed the way forward on access to moorland which is now enshrined in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act.”
Mr Miliband’s speech was the keynote of a celebration day of speeches, songs and stories centred on New Mills Town Hall, when about 300 ramblers from all over the country gathered to celebrate the anniversary.
Earlier in the day, Mr Miliband had named a Northern Rail train after Benny Rothman, the Manchester rambler who led the Mass Trespass in 1932. Assisting him in the ceremony at Manchester’s Piccadilly Station was Benny’s son, Harry, and two of his great grandchildren, Harvey and Isabella.
Other speakers at the New Mills event, compered by BBC Radio 2 folk show host Mike Harding, included Sir Martin Doughty, chair of Natural England, who came up with a Trespass Trail walking route based on New Mills. The trail was officially opened by Mr Miliband at the New Mills Heritage Centre alongside a sign which read “Trespassers will be Celebrated – By Order”.
Lord Roy Hattersley, president of Friends of the Peak District; Kate Ashbrook, chair of the Ramblers’ Association; Tony Hams, chair of the Peak District National Park authority and Jim Perrin, writer, access activist and friend of Benny Rothman, were the other speakers.
Music, Drama, Walks and Exhibitions
Sally Goldsmith sang her song ‘Trespassers Will Be Celebrated’ composed for the 70th anniversary. There was a ‘work-in-progress’ performance of a new community play, On Common Ground, about the trespass, prior to a full performance later in the summer. The event concluded with a rousing rendition of Ewan MacColl’s famous access anthem, The Manchester Rambler.
Throughout the weekend, guided walks led by National Park, Derbyshire County Council and National Trust rangers took many hundreds of walkers along part of the 14-mile Trespass Trail – including a 101-year-old lady who had travelled up from London for the event.
Exhibitions and displays were on show at the Town Hall, Heritage Centre and Central Station.
75th Anniversary Speakers
Introduced by MC Mike Harding, six notable speakers presented their perspective on the 1932 Kinder Trespass and the way forward for building on the legacy:
- Martin Doughty – Chair of Natural England and ‘host’ of the event
- David Miliband – Secretary of State for the Environment
- Tony Hams – Chair of the Peak District National Park Authority
- Roy Hattersley – President of Friends of the Peak District
- Kate Ashbrook – Chair of Ramblers’ Association
- Jim Perrin – writer, access activist and friend of Benny Rothman
Sir Martin Doughty
Chair of Natural England
Sir Martin described the moorlands, such as Kinder Scout and Bleaklow, as rarer in global terms than tropical rain forest. Natural England sees these uplands as hugely important.Farmers used to be given perverse incentives. The National Trust have taken 38,000 sheep off Kinder Scout and are working to re-vegetate this unique habitat. Natural England will provide agri-environment payments to give incentives for uplands to be managed in the right way. Sir Martin said he would like to think that Benny and the Mass Trespassers would approve of what is going on now, but it took a long time – 75 years.
Secretary of State for the Environment
David described his naming of a train as a humbling moment, as seen in the many benefits for the generations succeeding Benny Rothman. It is a testimony to the power of popular pressure and government to make a difference to people’s lives. The tradition of moral reform – ‘Here’s an injustice, let’s sort it out’ – is embodied in the actions of the Trespassers. Land is a public good that we should all be able to enjoy. When given responsibility people act in a responsible way. We honour the legacy of the Trespass through freedom of access to coasts.
>> View Video of David’s Speech (opens in a new tab / window)
Chair of the Peak District NPA
On behalf of the Peak District National Park Authority, Tom praised and thanked the 1932 trespassers for their bravery and foresight – without them there may not have been National Parks, with open access moorland.Today there are concerns about illegal quarrying and a bypass across the sensitive protected moorlands. This Park, these moors and access to them, are part of our heritage, our culture, our spiritual, historical and physical well-being – thanks to the Trespassers of 1932 we have been given the opportunity, the duty and the privilege to continue to fight on the key issues.
>> View Video of Tony’s Speech (opens in a new tab / window)
Lord Roy Hattersley
President of Friends of the Peak District
Lord Hattersley called the trespass “the most successful direct action in British history”.He recalled how he used to catch the 101 tram from Hillsborough to get out to Fox House as a lad to walk in the Peak. He added: “If it was not for the trespass, we would not have the right to roam, nor the right to cherish, love and enjoy the Peak District hills.”
Chair of Ramblers’ Association
Kate paid tribute to the work of SCAM (Sheffield Campaign for Access to Moorland) and people like Irene and John Bunting from Sheffield – both in their 90s and present at the celebrations. She mentioned Barbara Castle’s plea to the 70th anniversary celebrations to “grasp the future”.She said that there were still some things in the CROW Act which were not perfect, including the still unclear situation on semi-improved chalk grasslands in the south of England.
Writer, access activist and friend of Benny Rothman
Jim gave an impassioned speech referring to the fact that the southern Pennines were “ramparts of paradise” to the workers of Manchester and Sheffield. His friend Benny Rothman was “a playful, wise and humorous man, but there was also a seriousness about him.” He was the “father of the outdoor movement”. Our land, he added, should only be entrusted to those who had the most care for it and would do it the least harm.
Train Naming by Minister David Miliband
Secretary of State David Miliband performed a ceremony to name a Northern Rail train after “Benny Rothman – Manchester Rambler” at Manchester Piccadilly station on 21 April 2007.
The Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs travelled to Manchester with High Peak MP Tom Levit, Sir Martin Doughty, Roly Smith, Mike Harding and Harry Rothman, son of Benny. They returned to New Mills to visit the Heritage Centre and to participate in the celebrations at the Town Hall.
On leaving the station, the Minister was taken on a short tour over the Millennium Walkway and through the Torrs Riverside Park, before making the ascent to the Heritage Centre.
At the Heritage Centre, David Miliband met the new Administrator Angela Fuggle and officially launched the ‘Trespass Trail’ by Sir Martin Doughty and Roly Smith. He then took a brief tour of the Heritage Centre to see the Exhibition of a typical 1930s Manchester rambler’s room and the other exhibits. Roly Smith presented the Minister with a copy of his book ‘Kinder Scout – Portrait of a Mountain’ – winner of the Libraries Association Alan Ball Award in 2002.
Community Play – ‘On Common Ground’
High Peak Community Arts celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Kinder Trespass with an original community play ‘On Common Ground’ created and presented by local people. On Common Ground is a celebration of the struggle of ordinary people to gain access to the countryside we take for granted.
Using music, multimedia and jump-cuts through time and space, the performance – devised with the New Mills community – explores the history of the struggle and takes us into a future of imagined consequences.
Central to the show is the remarkable story of the Kinder Trespass, when a large group of young ramblers from Manchester and Sheffield defied police and local landowners to roam across the High Peaks of Derbyshire.
The play is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Their regional manager Emma Sale said: “This play will involve lots of people in the community and encourage them to reflect and celebrate a local event, which had such long term effects on the fabric of British life. The present public debate includes issues such as responsible access to land, management of the countryside and environmental sustainability. Such issues are at the cutting edge of green tourism and continuing access to heritage, and this play will has the potential to create thought-provoking and original ideas.”
75th Exhibitions and Displays
Rambler’s Room – New Mills Heritage Centre
During the 75th Anniversary week and with help from High Peak Community Arts, the Heritage Centre staged a recreation of the ‘typical front room’ from which the ramblers might have set out in 1932: an opportunity to think about why access to the countryside was felt to be so important at that time from the ‘same’ situation as the ‘trespassers’ and to read and hear about reaction to the story, at the time and since.
New Mills Heritage Centre Open weekends 10.30am to 4.30pm, weekdays 11am to 4pm (closed Mondays)
A mural was commissioned by Northern Rail and Hope Valley and High Peak Transport Partnership to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Kinder Trespass.
As part of the inspiration behind the ‘story mural’, the artist has considered the lives, backgrounds and lifestyles of the ramblers of the 1930s.
The textile industry and cotton mils of Manchester and New Mills were dominant in the lives of many. The mural will weave modern and historical images with seams and threads of text and colour.
The mural can be seen in the waiting room at New Mills Central Station
Building on the Legacy – New Mills Town Hall
Displays by national, regional and local organisations concerned with “building on the legacy” – that is protecting and promoting responsible access to the countryside of the Mass Trespass and beyond.
The 75th event day exhibitors presented an opportunity to find out more about and get involved with the continuing campaigns and activities of bodies like the Peak District National Park Authority, the Ramblers Association, The National Trust, Derbyshire County Council Countryside Services, Sheffield Campaign for Access to Moorland, the British Mountaineering Council, Natural England, Moors for the Future, and Friends of the Peak District (Campaign to Protect Rural England).
70th anniversary 2002
A striking feature of this anniversary event is that it was attended by the Duke of Devonshire, the owner of Chatsworth estate in Derbyshire. The Duke apologised for the attitude of his grandfather, who owned part of Kinder in 1932, and was probably involved in organising the force of gamekeepers and other hired hands who attempted to prevent the trespass from taking place.
Articles on the 70th Anniversary
- Trespassers will be Celebrated by Roly Smith for Guardian 20 Apr 2002
- Scout’s Honour – Guardian article 17 Apr 2002
- Walkers Gather to Celebrate Historic Mass Trespass – Ramblers Association article from 70th Anniversary
- The Walk that Changed Britain by Giles Wilson for BBC News Online 26 Apr 2002
- The Right to Roam Our Land – 70 Years On from the Kinder Trespass – Red Pepper article
A day of music and song at Bowden Bridge Quarry on Saturday 27 April 2002 celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Trespass. The main speaker was the Minister of State for the Environment, Michael Meacher MP. Celebrations were lead the by broadcaster, comedian and former Ramblers Association president Mike Harding. Other speakers included Sir Martin Doughty, then chairman of the Peak District National Park Authority and of English Nature, and Kate Ashbrook, chief executive of the Open Spaces Society and chair of the Ramblers Access Committee.
60th anniversary, 1992
As in 1982, there was a very well attended rally for walkers in Hayfield, at Bowden Bridge quarry. After the speeches, they set off to walk to where the trespass took place.
The play ‘A Free Man on Sunday‘ based on the Kinder Trespass was written by Mike Harding to commemorate the 60th anniversary and premiered by the Manchester Youth Theatre in 1992.
50th anniversary, 1982
The first celebration of an anniversary of the trespass, that we know about, was the 50th in 1982.
To mark the 50th anniversary a commemorative plaque was unveiled in April 1982, by Benny Rothman, during a rally at Bowden Bridge quarry, on Kinder Road Hayfield, the starting point for the 1932 trespass.
NOTE: we would like more information about how this came about, so if you have any knowledge about it, please get in touch with HKTG via the Contact Us page.