Description of Trespass - 24 April 1932
The events of Sunday, April 24, 1932 have long since entered the realms of rambling mythology.
Turned off by gamekeepers on Bleaklow a few weeks before and frustrated by the lack of progress made by the official ramblers’ federations towards the Right to Roam, members of the Lanchashire branch of the Communist-inspired British Workers’ Sport Federation decided they would make a public mass trespass on Kinder Scout, the highest point in the Peak District.
About 400 ramblers set off from Bowden Bridge quarry on Sunday April 24 in 1932. About halfway up William Clough, the trespassers scrambled up towards the Kinder plateau and came face-to-face with the Duke of Devonshire’s gamekeepers.
In the ensuing scuffle, one keeper was slightly hurt, and the ramblers pressed on to the plateau. Here they were greeted by a group of Sheffield-based trespassers who had set off that morning crossing Kinder from Edale. After exchanging congratulations, the two groups joyously retraced their steps, the Sheffield trespassers back to Edale and the Manchester contingent to Hayfield.
As they returned to the village, five ramblers were arrested by police accompanied by keepers, and taken to the Hayfield Lock-up. The day after the trespass, Rothman and four other ramblers were charged at New Mills Police Court with unlawful assembly and breach of the peace.
All six subsequently pleaded not guilty and were remanded to be tried at Derby Assizes – 60 miles from the ramblers’ homes – in July 1932. Five of the six were found guilty and were jailed for between two and six months.
The arrest and subsequent imprisonment of the trespassers unleashed a huge wave of public sympathy, and ironically united the ramblers cause.
A few weeks later in 1932 10,000 ramblers – the largest number in history – assembled for an access rally in the Winnats Pass, near Castleton, and the pressure for greater access continued to grow.
|Eye-witness Description of Mass Trespass
Guardian Article Mon 25 Apr 1932