A plaque to commemorate an important historic site and event for The Ramblers and the whole walking community will be unveiled on October 7th. The site of the plaque is on Jerry Pearlman’s house at Stalling Busk in Wensleydale. It was at this house in Wensleydale in August 1998 that the Stalling Busk Conference took place, the historic event where a group of enthusiasts met to draft what became the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (CROW Act) of 2000, the act that gave walkers the Right to Roam. In addition to Jerry Pearlman who was The Ramblers’ honorary solicitor, those present at the historic event included Alan Mattingley (The Ramblers’ chief exec), Kath Mackay (The Ramblers’ national chair), Richard Lloyd Jones, and David Beskine. The draft act that was drawn up at this historic event subsequently with very little change became the content and wording of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act.

Stalling Busk was a most appropriate place for such an event. The Wensleydale village is surrounded by mile upon mile of Right to Roam access land, some of it little more than a stone’s throw from Jerry Pearlman’s house. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act of 2000 has been a great triumph and success, and both present and future generations of the walking community should be grateful to The Ramblers for this magnificent achievement, the culmination of many years of campaigning including the Kinder Trespass. Walkers can now walk on mountain, moorland, heath and downs with their head held high, and enjoy the wild places and secret places from which they were previously denied access. The CROW Act also provides the legislation for the English Coast Path which extends along the whole of the English coast. It is great news that this is on course to be fully completed, all 2795 miles of it, in 2020.

Keith Wadd