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 Spirit of Kinder Day 2015




English ramblers were encouraged to start "a steady erosion of the concept of trespass in the countryside” at the third annual Spirit of Kinder Day at Edale on Saturday (April 25).

Dave Morris, former director of Ramblers Scotland, suggested that if walkers wanted to see the benefits of Scottish access legislation in the English countryside, they should start stepping off rights of way.

"It applies whether you are walking, cycling, horseriding, skiing, birdwatching, botanising, star-gazing or doing whatever non-motorised activity appears to be appropriate,” said Dave. "As long as you take responsibility for your own actions, respect the interests of other people, and care for the environment, you will eventually demolish the concept of trespass.”

The second action which he proposed was the production of an English version of the proven Scottish Outdoor Access Code, which had been in effect since the passing of the Scottish Land Reform Act in 2003.

He added: "We currently have the absurd situation where in Scotland, I can walk down the edge of a field, along a tramline made by a tractor, or along the bare ground between vegetable crops, and know that I am complying with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, and have the statutory right to do so. 

"Suppose, however, that halfway across the field I cross the Border into England. Suddenly many will claim that the landowner can accuse me of being a ‘trespasser’, order me to leave the field and use so-called ‘reasonable force’ to compel me to do so.

"How is it,” asked Dave, "that I am apparently doing no damage to the crop north of the Border but appear to be creating havoc with the same crop in the same field when I step into England?”

The Spirit of Kinder event, organised by the Kinder & High Peak Advisory Committee (KHPAC) at Edale Village Hall, also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Pennine Way, which starts in Edale. 

Other keynote speakers were Chris Townsend, the British Mountaineering Council’s first-ever hill-walking ambassador; Chris Sainty, chairman of the Pennine Way Association, who reflected on the PW from its origins to its inception, and Ann Beedham, Sheffield author and illustrator, who gave an illustrated talk on walking, and trespassing, in the Peak in the 1920s, based on the words and photographs of George Willis Marshall. 

A lively open forum on future access provision and the Scottish model was led by Chris Townsend, Dave Morris and Chris Sainty, before young members of Sheffield’s Woodcraft Folk, led by Kat Budd, closed proceedings with the traditional singing of Ewan MacColl’s Manchester Rambler. 

Plans are already being formulated for next year’s event to be held in Hayfield, the starting point of the Mass Trespass in 1932.



Kinder Mass Trespass  

In April 1932 over 400 people participated in a mass trespass onto Kinder Scout, a bleak moorland plateau, the highest terrain in the Peak District.

The event was organised by the Manchester branch of the British Workers Sports Federation. They chose to notify the local press in advance, and as a result, Derbyshire Constabulary turned out in force. A smaller group of ramblers from Sheffield set off from Edale and met up with the main party on the Kinder edge path.

Five men from Manchester, including the leader, Benny Rothman, were subsequently jailed.

75 years later the trespass was described as:



"the most successful direct action in British history"

Lord Roy Hattersley, 2007.

April 2012 saw the 80th Anniversary of the mass trespass of Kinder Scout celebrated by a week of walks, talks, and exhibitions, with a launch ceremony featuring Mike Harding, Stuart Maconie, and the leaders of major agencies involved in access to countryside. A new book was published, and commemorative posters are on sale.

This website sets out to explain why this event had such a far reaching impact that it is still so enthusiastically remembered and celebrated today.

The trespass is widely credited with leading to:

  • legislation in 1949 to establish the National Parks.
  • contributing to the development of the Pennine Way and many other long distance footpath.
  • securing walkers' rights over open country and common land in the C.R.O.W. Act of 2000.

The trespass was controversial at the time, being seen as a working class struggle for the right to roam versus the rights of the wealthy to have exclusive use of moorlands for grouse shooting. It remains controversial today, both for those reasons and because some think its importance has been overstated.

Our aim is to tell the story of the mass trespass, but to put it in the context of all the other contributions made to securing access rights to the moorlands, mountains and countryside of the UK.

Meeting at Bowden Bridge Quarry - Click to Enlarge

Mike Harding and Chapel Choir- Click to Enlarge

Peak District National Park Authority

We hope to go on to set up a permanent Kinder Visitor Centre in Hayfield (where the 400 Manchester trespassers set off from) dedicated to telling this story, and to serve as a focal point for visitors and for current moorland access issues.


  BLUE PLAQUE – 24/10/12, Unveiling of a Blue Plaque to commemorate the life of Benny Rothman
Online Shop - Kinder Images Range.
The Battle for Kinder Scout - updated version of Benny Rothman's book.
About Us - Kinder Visitor Centre Group.
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2015