Trespassers will be celebrated

On April 24 1932, a group of ramblers dared to set foot on Kinder Scout. Seventy years later, we can all enjoy the freedom of the once forbidden mountain Read a report on the original trespass from our archive

Kinder Scout

Kinder Scout, at 2,088ft (636m) the highest point of the Peak District, is probably the most walked-upon mountain in Britain. But Kinder is still a place of constant surprises - a five-square-mile morass of peat bog with no easily-perceiveable summit, yet a place of and ever-changing beauty with a social and political history unmatched in the British hills.

Famed among hairy-kneed backpackers as the southern starting point of the 270-mile Pennine Way, it was the scene exactly 70 years ago of "the Battle of Kinder Scout" - the most infamous incident in the century-old struggle for the cherished and soon-to-be-realised right to roam on mountain and moorland.

Walkers from all over Britain will be congregating next Saturday in a small disused quarry at Bowden Bridge, Hayfield, on the western slopes of Kinder, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Mass Trespass. In a carefully-orchestrated and well-publicised assault on the grouse-shooting landlords' selfish veto, about 400 ramblers led by the young Communist Benny Rothman, who died in January at the age of 90, deliberately and spectacularly called their bluff. The result was that five young walkers, including Rothman, were imprisoned for "riotous assembly" by exercising what they believed to be their freedom to roam. It was a momentous and significant milestone in the long campaign for National Parks and access to the countryside.

This walk follows in the footsteps of the trespassers and shows some of the finest features of the once-forbidden mountain.

Start from the National Park car park at Bowden Bridge, where a bronze plaque commemorates the trespass. Turn left and follow the minor road beside the River Kinder, branching off right after about half a mile by a footpath sign near the waterworks gates.

Crossing the river, you turn almost immediately left, through a gate on to a broad path by the side of the river, eventually crossing the river again by a footbridge below the grassy dam of the Kinder reservoir. Go through a gate on the right, signposted "White Brow," and follow the path which climbs, with a wall to your right, up the slopes of White Brow.

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The path degenerates to a rocky and at times boggy footpath, which is followed through a gate and then around Nab Brow, with fine views across the Kinder reservoir to your right towards the distant cleft of Kinder Downfall - the highest waterfall in the Peak.

This glorious path eventually descends into William Clough by a cascade, where you turn left before a footbridge to follow the (signed) Snake Path up beside the clough into its narrowing confines.

The rough, rocky path rises steeply, frequently crossing the stream or winding high on its banks, passing the point near the top where the trespass actually took place. Eventually, after climbing a rocky reconstructed staircase of stones, it emerges at Ashop Head. About 20 yards from the top of the "staircase", a flagged path leads off to the right towards the prominent escarpment of Ashop Head. Climb the steep stairway, now on the Pennine Way (south) leading to the top of Ashop Head.

Turn right at the top near a large cairn and pass a sign that tells you that you are entering an "Environmentally Sensitive Area". Follow the edge path up and below Mill Hill Rocks towards the next prominent headland of Sandy Heys, which is about half a mile of rough walking ahead, and where the victory meeting was held in 1932.

When you reach the prominent rocks of Sandy Heys which form the south-western buttress of Kinder Scout, take the path leading off right (south-west) steeply down the crest of the ridge. This crosses over some rocky steps and boggy ground eventually crossing a stream in a dip, as it heads down towards the foot of William Clough.

Reaching William Clough, you then cross the footbridge passed on your outward journey, and retrace your steps around Nab and White Brows above the reservoir, and down the Kinder Road back to the Bowden Bridge car park.

· Kinder Scout - Portrait of a Mountain, edited by Roly Smith, is published by Derbyshire County Council at £12.99.

Way to go

The walk: Distance: six miles (9.6km). Total ascent: 1,475 ft (450m). Terrain: high moorland, requiring boots, waterproofs, map and compass. Map: Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 Outdoor Leisure No 1, The Dark Peak. Start and finish: Bowden Bridge National Park car park (pay and display), Hayfield, or in the village.

Getting there: Hayfield is 17km from junction 12 of the M66 off the A624 Chapel-en-le-Frith to Glossop road. Nearest station Chinley, 6km.

Refreshments: The Royal Hotel, Hayfield, or The Twenty Trees Café, Church Street, Hayfield.

Further information: Glossop TIC, Victoria Street, Glossop (01457 855920) or the National Park Visitor Centre at Edale (01433 670207).

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