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Negotiating Access after 1949


1949 16 December, the government passes the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act setting up the Countryside Commission, the Nature Conservancy Council (now both Natural England) and 10 national parks.

1950 A Landscape Area Special Development Order brings the design and materials of farm buildings in the Peak District, Lake District and Snowdonia under some planning control.

1951 The establishment of the Peak District National Park on 17 April brings the start of protracted negotiations leading to the first access agreements in the country for the public to walk on private moorland. The Lake District, Snowdonia and Dartmoor National Parks also designated.
1952 Pembrokeshire Coast and North York Moors National Parks established.

1953 The first agreement covering 5,624 acres of land owned by the Duke of Devonshire on Southern Kinder is signed with some additional areas belonging to the Youth Hostels Association and local Edale farmers in the same year.

1954 The Peak District National Park's Ranger Service is set up and the first ranger, Tom Tomlinson, is appointed to work as a 'warden' in the Peak District in January. The Voluntary Warden Service is launched on Good Friday. Wardens are trained to help people appreciate the countryside. Yorkshire Dales and Exmoor National Parks are designated.

1955 In February the first access agreement for Kinder is signed.

1956 Northumberland National Park is designated.

1957 Brecon Beacons - the last national park designated by the 1949 Act is established. By the end of the year a further 15 sq. miles of south east Bleaklow are under an access agreement.

1960 Fieldhead information centre opens in Edale.

1961 An access agreement is signed for Langsett Moor. Windgather Rocks at Kettleshulme, near Whaley Bridge, are purchased to resolve a climbing problem.

1962 Stanage Edge access agreement is concluded.
1964 Three rover scouts die on Bleaklow Moor, resulting in the formation of the Peak District Mountain Rescue Organisation and Edale Mountain Rescue Team, both staffed by wardens.

1965 24 April: thirty years on,  the Pennine Way is opened. The country's first National Trail it stretches 256 miles from Edale to Scotland.

1968 The Countryside Act is passed, imposing a 'duty' on every minister, government department and public body to have "due regard for conserving the natural beauty and amenity of the countryside."

1970 The Peak District National Park Authority purchase the North Lees estate including the climbing edge of Stanage.

1972 The Local Government Act establishes National Park Authorities to administer each Park. Forward planning documents National Park Plans must be produced.

1974 The Sandford Committee recommends that national parks should have larger budgets and more staff.

1976 Year of the drought and the scene of many devastating moorland fires around the Peak District National Park.

1979 The Peak District National Park rangers celebrate their 25th anniversary.
1980s A programme of guided walks is launched to encourage people from all walks of life to enjoy the Peak District.

1981 The Wildlife and Countryside Act is passed, the first comprehensive protection of listed species and habitats, and includes conservation schemes like Countryside Stewardship. Severn Trent Water in partnership with the then Peak Park Joint Planning Board pioneered the opening of Ladybower Reservoir and the removal of roadside fences.

1982 The 50th anniversary of the Kinder Mass Trespass. Sheffield Campaign for Access to Moorland (SCAM) is set up. In October the National Trust buys the Kinder estate declaring it open for access in perpetuity.

Last Modified: 22 Feb 2013