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Making Trespass a Crime Again

£10,000 grant has been awarded by the Peak District
Hayfield is about to get some permanent installations in the village to acknowledge that this is where the historic 1932 Kinder Mass Trespass started and ended.  



The Government is planning to make trespass a criminal offence under the Anti-Social Behaviour Bill currently before Parliament, claimed a leading countryside campaigner at the first-ever Spirit of Kinder Day on Saturday (April 27).

Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, said: "The Bill threatens to make trespass a criminal offence by creating public spaces protection orders – in fact, exclusion orders – applied to places like open country and village greens, where the public currently has the right of recreation.”

The event was held at New Mills Town Hall just across the road from the place where 81 years ago, six ramblers were first incarcerated following the celebrated Kinder Scout Mass Trespass. Five were later imprisoned, not for trespass but for public order offences.

Kate also accused the Government of being "driven by development dogma”, and of "a piece-by-piece dismantling of the planning system”, with potentially- disastrous effects on previously protected areas such as village greens and national parks.

"National parks are certainly not safe,” claimed Kate, "The Growth and Infrastructure Act undermines the duty of public bodies to have regard to national park purposes. Neither are our 13 National Trails, which guarantee access to the best of our wild country but which the Government is proposing to hand over to local trails partnerships.”

Kate finally made an impassioned call for renewed campaigning, reporting path problems, lobbying councillors and MPs to get across the huge benefits of outdoor activities for health and the economy; working together to get a better deal for walkers, riders and cyclists, and learning from the Kinder trespassers’ legacy.

She also launched the Friends of Kinder Trespass membership group, organised by the Kinder Visitor Centre Group of Hayfield, which already has members such as Sir Chris Bonington and Lord Hattersley and has long-term plans for a trespass visitor centre in the village. A programme of the 60thanniversary event, signed by trespass leader Benny Rothman, will be auctioned on the group’s website ( to raise funds.

Other speakers were Terry Howard, chairman of the Kinder & High Peak Advisory Committee; Keith Warrender, who gave an illustrated history of the trespass, and Jon Stewart, manager of the National Trust’s Peak District estate, who reflected on the Trust’s 30 years of ownership of Kinder Scout.

The event, attended by over 300 people, finished on a musical note, with Boff Whalley, founder member of the former anarcho-punk-pop band Chumbawamba, singing the band’s tribute to the Mass Trespass, You Can, accompanied by accordionist Phil Moody. The Chapel-en-le-Frith Male Voice Choir finally led the traditional singing of The Manchester Rambler.

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