The right to roam freely in the countryside has been a long journey.
Back in the early 20th century, great tracts of our beautiful landscapes were deemed closed to walkers because they were owned privately. So on 24th April 1932, around 500 walkers from the Manchester area carried out a wilful mass trespass on the privately owned Kinder Scout, a summit in the English Peak District.
There had been calls for a “right to roam” for years, but the trespass was a seminal moment in the struggle over the competing interests of freedom and property.
Trespass was not at the time considered a crime, but the walkers were still stopped by the local police force, and five arrested for alleged violence. Pressure for public access grew even stronger as a result, and arguably it led to the creation of National Parks in 1949 and the establishment of long-distance footpaths such as the Pennine Way.
The ultimate aim of gaining unfettered access to open countryside was finally achieved through the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, a promise in Labour's 1997 election manifesto. You can read more about the Kinder Trespass and its impact in our blog post. It was a long journey, but we got there in the end.
We are indebted to the illustrator Stephen Millership for this gorgeous design.