Ewan MacColl was on the first Kinder Scout trespass and wrote this amazingly catchy tune inspired by the experience.
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” by Lord Roy Hattersley.
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.
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.