Extinction Rebellion, supported by the Right to Roam campaign, called on people to participate in locally-organised trespasses to commemorate the 89th anniversary of the Kinder Scout mass trespass. The 1932 trespass was a key event in opening up the aristocracy-dominated countryside to working class people from the cities around the Peak District, who were desperate to get out and enjoy the benefits of nature, something that had been kept for the landowners and their grouse-shooting friends. Though there has been a great improvement in access rights, large parts of open countryside and riverside are still off limits. This has nothing to do with protecting farm land or nesting birds but instead with protecting the power and privilege of large landowners to use the land in damaging ways, putting profit before the common good.
The announcement of the right to roam actions caused panic and outrage in organisations such as the Shooting Times and the Countryside Alliance. They said they were concerned that the protesters would disturb nesting wildlife and interfere with farming operations. However, XR and the Right to Roam campaign made it perfectly clear that trespasses were not targeting farmland or disturbing wildlife in any way. It is ironic that the Shooting Times was so concerned about animal welfare! These organisations are known for their support of foxhunting which disturbs both wildlife and farmland.
Here are some examples of the events that took place.
Dorset: 40 people accessed the MP Richard Drax’s family estate in north Dorset.
Today, the 89th anniversary of the #kinderscout trespass, we stretched legs, exercised our #righttoroam and took in the Chorlton and Sale golf courses. Treading lightly and picking up litter, we invited the golfers we met to join us in forming a ‘Ring of Protection’ around #ryebankfields.
Ryebank Fields is under threat of being sold off for development by Manchester Metropolitan University when it is one of Chorlton and Stretford’s most treasured #greenspaces, where it should be #everyonewelcomehere.
Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire: Activists chose Kedleston Hall because despite being very close to Derby, access to the park, lake and woodlands is currently behind a paywall, only accessible to members of the National Trust or those with the means to pay.
These actions is part of an on-going campaign for an extension of the right to roam in England.
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