‘We must reignite the campaigning zeal of the Kinder trespassers. Times are tough for countryside campaigners, but the spirit of Kinder will carry us through.’
So declared our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, at the Spirit of Kinder event to celebrate the 82nd anniversary of the famous mass trespass. This was held at Sheffield Town Hall on Saturday (26 April).
‘The governments in England and Wales are attacking our green spaces, making it almost impossible for local people to register them as town or village greens to secure their rights to enjoy them.
‘The cuts in local authority funding and the obsession with development mean that budgets for maintaining, creating and recording public paths have been slashed.
‘The national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty have to make do with ever-shrinking funds to protect our top landscapes.
‘It’s time that the government recognised that open country, green spaces and public paths are not a luxury but a vital need. They contribute massively to our health and well-being, as well as bringing income to the rural economy.
‘This year we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the right to roam on open country: the first access land under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 was opened to the public in September 2004 in the Peak District and Yorkshire Dales, among other places. But there is much more to be done—we are keen to see completion of coastal access around England, and greater access to woods and forests. There are unrecorded paths and commons to be claimed.
‘The Kinder trespassers, five of whom, scandalously, were jailed, showed what can be achieved with determination and courage. We must never forget their legacy as we face the battles of today.’
Also speaking at the event were John Mothersole, Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council, Bill Bevan, Sheffield-based archaeologist, three young members of the Woodcraft Folk and Annabelle Kennedy, Sheffield Wildlife Trust on the work of the Sheffield Moors Partnership.