Ramblers take case to Bronte moorland

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They stood in torrential rain overlooking the wild moorland they are forbidden to walk. It was not the first protest and unlikely to be the last by ramblers who want to roam privately owned swathes of Pennine fells.

A group gathered yesterday on the slopes of the Bronte Moors, outside Haworth, West Yorkshire, to make their protest before joining hundreds of walkers at a rally in the town.

The crowds spilled out of the community centre and stood in the rain listening to speakers including the Ramblers Association president, Janet Street- Porter, call for a new Trans-Pennine Coalition of walkers to campaign for access to the hills.

"Here in the Pennines our members have been struggling for over 30 years to win that freedom, but their voices have often gone unheard," Miss Street- Porter said.

She renewed an appeal to landowners to use the association's free Landowners Access Line to make offers to open up their banned moorland. But the telephone line, which opened a fortnight ago, has yet to receive a single call.