This paper was originally presented at 39 Essex Street in June 2004.
“In 1884 James Bryce MP introduced the first bill for freedom to roam. The bill was introduced every year until 1914 and failed each time. Following the Depression and increased unemployment, new and greater interest was shown by the public in open areas for recreation. Nowhere was this felt more strongly than in the Peak District. On 24th April 1932 six leaders of the newfound access movement, who bitterly resented restrictions placed upon would-be ramblers by gamekeepers (who were protecting their grouse and the property rights of their masters), staged a now famous ‘mass trespass’ of around 600 ramblers across Kinder Scout. The leaders were jailed but the event caused a national outcry and brought the campaign for freedom to roam further into the public eye…”