Today is the 80th anniversary of the mass trespass of Kinder Scout in the Derbyshire Peak District. Like most of the moorlands, although previously common land , Kinder was private property reserved for shooting classes only. On 24 April 1932, around 400 hikers gathered at Hayfield to listen to speakers and then proceed up to Kinder Scout. After protests from the Hayfield Parish Council, the hikers regrouped at Bowden Bridge Quarry where they were addressed by Benny Rothman whose inspiring speech set the crowd on the way.
The trespass proceeded via William Clough to Kinder Scout, where there were violent scuffles with gamekeepers with one of the keepers injuring his ankle. The ramblers were able to reach their destination and meet with another group from Edale. On the return, five ramblers were arrested, with another detained earlier who had actually gone to the help of the fallen keeper. The 5 which included Benny Rothman were eventually sent for trial at Derby and handed out custodial sentences of up to 6 months.
A commemorative plaque now marks the start of the trespass at Bowden Bridge quarry near Hayfield. It was unveiled in April 1982 by an aged Benny Rothman during a rally to mark the 50th anniversary. He died 3 months before the 70th anniversary but not before realising what a huge impact the tresspass had on public access to vast swathes of wild land for forthcoming generations secured in a large part by the opening up of of National Parks and the passing of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act in 2000. At a gathering for the 70 anniversary, the late Duke of Devonshire made a dignified speech where he stated ' The trespass was a great shaming on my family and the sentences handed out were harsh. But out of great evil can come great good. The trespass was the first event in the movement of access to the countryside and the creation of our National Park'. However many of our woodland and costal areas are still without public access so the fight for freedom to roam continues.
With thanks to:http://www.derbyshireuk.net/kinder_trespass.html