UK Government Abandons Right to Roam Review

Just days before Kinder Scout Trespass anniversary

Read time 2 mins

Published Apr 22, 2022

Base editorial team
BASE editorial team BASE writers and editors who live and breathe adventure every day. We love adventure storytelling as much as we love adventure itself.

This weekend (April 24) marks the 90th anniversary of the Kinder Scout mass trespass in 1932 which saw a group of around 400 protest the fact that walkers in England and Wales were denied access to areas of open country. Now, almost a century later, the debate is as strong and as relevant as ever.

Last year, the Treasury commissioned a review into access to nature, asking for ‘radical, joined up thinking’ to achieve a ‘quantum shift in how our society supports people to access and engage with the outdoors’. Now, amid anger from campaigners that the law of trespass stops people from walking freely around the country, the government has shelved the review. Leader of the House of Commons, Mark Spencer, said the English countryside is a ‘place of business’ and already has ‘hundreds of thousands of miles of public footpaths’.

Currently the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (known by many as the ‘right to roam’) gives a legal right of public access to mountains, moorland, heaths, some downland and commons, alongside coast paths. In total, this accounts for about 8% of the UK’s land mass. Campaigners however continue to ask for an extension to the act to cover rivers, woodland and green belt land too, so that millions more people can have easy access to open spaces.

Last year’s review had included a potential expansion of the much-fought-over ‘right to roam’, which is feared will now not go ahead. In response, activists are planning mass trespasses to raise awareness of how much of England’s land is out of bounds.

Addressing also the barriers faced by people of colour in the outdoors, Kinder in Colour invites black people and people of colour to walk, dance, sing and take up space on Kinder Scout, while the Right to Roam campaign is planning a series of mass trespasses planned between May and September. Rapha Manchester will be leading a ride on April 24 to celebrate the anniversary of the original Kinder Scout trespass.

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