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Kinder 80: Trespass to Treasure

Posters AdvertThe 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:

 >> Kinder Trespass 80 - booklet and programme of events

80th Anniversary Launch Event

Stuart Maconie and Harry Rothman - Photo Keith WarrenderThe 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.

Mike Harding and Chapel Choir - Photo Keith Warrender

Video of Manchester Rambler singing

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.”

From Both Sides Now
Walk from Edale or Hayfield to Kinder Low

A short walk from Edale to Edale Cross, comemmorating the Kinder Mass Trespass of 1932. This group walked in wind, rain, hail, sleet and even a bit of snow. After briefly meeting another group who walked from Hayfield, they returned to Edale. The weather was so bad that there was clearly no point in hanging around! The walk was led by National Park Rangers on Wednesday 25th April 2012.

Last Modified: 21 Jun 2015