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Saturday, 27 April, 2002, 13:09 GMT 14:09 UK
Ramblers mark historic trespass
Ramblers walking
Ramblers still want more countryside to be opened up
Hundreds of ramblers have gathered in Derbyshire to mark 70 years since a mass trespass which prompted changes in Britain's right to roam legislation.

Violent clashes between walkers and gamekeepers on the slopes of Kinder Scout hill in 1932 resulted in the imprisonment of five men.

But the incident is widely seen as the catalyst for what became a long struggle to secure public rights of access to the countryside.

It was the waking up of the people for a right to roam

Jimmy Jones, one of the original ramblers

It is also credited by many as leading to the creation of Britain's national parks.

On Saturday a commemorative ramble and rally was held at the site to mark the event.

Until 1932 the land around Kinder Scout, at the start of the Pennine Way, was controlled by its wealthy landowners.

A group of walkers - growing increasingly angry at the class divide which effectively meant large parts of England's most beautiful countryside were out of bounds - decided to defy them and took to the hillside en masse.

Kinder Scout
Kinder Scout was known as the "forbidden mountain"
They clashed with landowners and five people were jailed for causing "riotous assembly".

Jimmy Jones, 85, from Manchester was one of the original walkers and returned for Saturday's rally.

"When the ramblers confronted the gamekeepers it was 'mayhem'," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"We'd guessed there'd be something, we'd guessed that, but we intended to go. It was our country, not theirs.

"The trespass was a breakthrough, letting the majority of people know what has happened and what was going to happen... It was the waking up of the people for a right to roam."


The grandson of the 9th Duke of Devonshire - the original landowner - was also due to attend Saturday's anniversary event to apologise on behalf of his family.

"They (the ramblers) were entirely in the right ... My grandfather, I think, took the wrong attitude and I'd like to think that the attitude of my family to ramblers has changed," he said.

"I'm a great believer in the right to roam."

Environment minister Michael Meacher was also due to address the rally.

The event is also aimed to keep up pressure on the government to extend rights of way access to a growing proportion of the countryside.

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act is now coming into force, but one of the rally organisers, Roly Smith, said more needed to be done.

'Fight goes on'

Mr Smith, president of the North East Derbyshire and South Yorkshire Ramblers Association, said: "There is still a long way to go. The battle is not over yet.

"Even when the Act goes through it will only encompass about 12% of the total land area of England and Wales.

"Since the outbreak of foot-and-mouth, the whole country realised how important walking and tourism was to the rural economy - probably it is equally as important as farming.

"The fight will go on."

The BBC's Steve Swann
"For ramblers there remains much still to be done"
The BBC's Mike McKay
"The celebrations concluded with a commemorative walk"
See also:

27 Mar 02 | England
Campaigner loses path battle
30 Jan 01 | UK Politics
Act brings right to roam closer
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