Kinder Trespass commemorated with walk to Boulsworth Hill

“The consequent imprisonment of Benny Rothman and his co-leaders for “riotous assembly” gave widespread publicity to the campaign for the Right to Roam.”

86 years after the Kinder Trespass in April 1932, walkers from Huddersfield Group commemorated the historic event with a walk to Boulsworth Hill on the Brontë Moors. Much of the route of the walk was on Access Land where walkers can now roam freely, but which was out of bounds to walkers before the CROW Act of 2000.

The 10.5-mile walk led by Tim Riley on Saturday 21st April started from Widdop Reservoir near Heptonstall and was blessed with a rare window of bright warm weather in the miserable April of 2018. Before starting the walk, the walkers remembered Benny Rothman, the leader of the Kinder Trespass. Then they set foot on Access Land up Greave Clough, and via the grouse butts to the Yorkshire/Lancashire border. From there, the route continued across the moor to the summit of Boulsworth Hill at Lad Law. On a clear day, Blackpool Tower can be seen, but not on this occasion, though there were good views of Pendle Hill. The walk went down to Lumb Spout waterfall, a beauty spot visited by walkers since Victorian times, and the remains of the former café still visible. The return to Widdop was via the Saucer stones, another visit to Lad Law, then Dove Stones, Grey Stone Hill and the edge above Ridehalgh Lane – a splendid route made possible by all those who contributed to the Right to Roam campaign.

The Kinder Trespass took place on Kinder Scout in the Peak District on 24th April 1932. The consequent imprisonment of Benny Rothman and his co-leaders for “riotous assembly” gave widespread publicity to the campaign for the Right to Roam. In the 1930s thousands of walkers in the North of England flocked to Right to Roam rallies.

The Ramblers’ Association in the 1990s organised the successful campaign that paved the way for the Labour Government’s Countryside & Rights of Way Act of 2000 (the CROW Act). Much of it retained the wording of Jerry Pearlman’s draft. In Yorkshire, the West Riding Area held several large rallies at Haworth and Todmorden, and in Calderdale the Access to Boulsworth Campaign (ABC) was also influential. As a result of the CROW Act, walkers now have legal access to mountain, moorland, heath, down and commonland throughout England and Wales. In Yorkshire, mile upon mile of moorland in the Pennines and North York Moors is now access land where walkers have the right to roam and they can visit previously forbidden places such as Meugher, Rishworth Moor, the Brontë Moors and Boulsworth Hill, and explore secret valleys such as Greave Clough and Ramsden Clough.

But the job isn’t yet finished. There is downland where access is still forbidden, and in West Riding Area, many more access points need to be established, particularly in the Nidderdale AONB. There is even some access land to which there is no access! And beware complacency – everything we have won we must continue to tenaciously protect. Many thanks to Tim and Huddersfield Group for organising the walk. It is to be hoped that a precedent has now been established with a commemorative Kinder Trespass walk in our area every year from now onwards.

Keith Wadd