Trailbikers follow in the footsteps of Kinder Scout's original trailblazers

Eighty years after ramblers' protest opened up the countryside to all, petrolheads demand the right to rev

Eighty years ago, a determined band of walkers armed with little more than a mackintosh and a round of sandwiches set out to reclaim the British landscape for the common man.

The success of the mass trespass on Kinder Scout in Derbyshire sparked a rural revolution and led to the creation of the national parks.

But those who choose to enjoy the great outdoors not on two legs but on wheels used yesterday's anniversary to gather close to the iconic gritstone peak to highlight what they claim is a growing campaign to exclude them from the countryside altogether.

About 100 off-roaders drove trails through the Peak District National Park before descending on the headquarters of the park authority in Bakewell to demand their legal rights to rev.

Mike Irving, of the Trail Riders Fellowship, said it was time to act after years of being marginalised by walkers and other groups.

"The Kinder Scout trespass was for everyone to have the right to use the footpaths and the byways and the bridleways and the old rights of way. We are not criminals but we are being demonised. We are gradually being hounded off the lanes," he said.

Mr Irving said organisations such as the Ramblers were waging war on off-road vehicle users who were restricted to just one per cent of the 2,459km of tracks in the Peak District National Park.

He said water erosion, agriculture and walkers all caused damage to the landscape. "The pollution we create is insignificant compared to the cars which come to the park each year and we are no noisier that the Forestry Commission operating a chainsaw in the middle of a forest," he added.

Last month the National Park Authority set out a plan to manage the impact of 4x4s, quad and trail bikes on contested routes and announced a crackdown on illegal off-roading.

Parks have been forced to step into the row after being given new powers by the Government to impose traffic regulation orders.

John King, who leads the Take Back the Tracks Campaign for the Friends of the Peak District, said popular off-road routes such as the Long Causeway out of Sheffield and Chapel Gate which skirts Rushup Edge took in sensitive ecological sites and some of England's most stunning scenery.

"There is the noise and there are issues of safety. Horses get spooked quite easily by engines. I know there is a code of behaviour but some people obey these things and some do not. The routes get so bad and uneven, so rocky and unstable they become difficult to walk on," he said.

But the campaign, which is backed by the Campaign to Protect Rural England, does not want a complete ban. "Everyone can co-exist if they all behave themselves," said Mr King.

Nicky Philpott, director of policy and campaigns for the Ramblers, said off-roaders should be limited to suitable legal routes. "The introduction of motorised vehicles into many parts of the countryside shatters the peaceful enjoyment of those seeking to escape the roads; bringing fumes, noise and increased danger to walkers, horse riders and cyclists," she said.

Historic ramble: Kinder Scout, 1932

It was 80 years ago yesterday when hundreds of ramblers sought to strike a blow for those wanting access to large parts of the countryside by staging a mass trespass on Kinder Scout mountain in the Peak District.

The protest was sparked by anger at walkers being denied access to public land, with no right to roam. Two groups set off from the villages of Edale and Hayfield to climb the 2,000ft (600m) mountain. Before reaching the top, they clashed with gamekeepers employed by the Duke of Devonshire. Scuffles broke out, with five ramblers later jailed. But weeks later, 10,000 ramblers met for an access rally in the nearby Winnats Pass. That eventually led to the creation of National Parks in England and Wales, with the Peak District the first area given the status in 1951.

Chris Stevenson

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Call Handler

£14500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a Sales Ca...

Recruitment Genius: Support Worker

£14560 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers unique pers...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor