Hundreds recreate 1932 demo over ‘barrier’ to countryside for people of colour

The Right to Roam campaign is celebrating the 90th anniversary of when hundreds of activists trespassed on Kinder Scout in the Peak District.

Ted Hennessey
Sunday 24 April 2022 18:09 BST
Kinder Scout (Andrew Butler/National Trust)
Kinder Scout (Andrew Butler/National Trust) (PA Media)

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Louise Thomas

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Hundreds of people have recreated a 1932 protest calling for the “massive barrier “to the countryside for people of colour to end.

The Right to Roam campaign is celebrating the 90th anniversary of when hundreds of activists trespassed on Kinder Scout in the Peak District to demonstrate against being denied access to areas of open country in England and Wales.

Campaigners from Kinder in Colour said around 500 people attended a walk close to Edale in the Peak District, Derbyshire, on Sunday afternoon.

A “ceremony” looking to connect people of colour to the countryside took place, along with a number of speeches during the three-hour hike.

Attendee Sam Siva told the PA news agency: “This has been a coming together to celebrate the anniversary and highlight the massive barriers in front of people of colour to the countryside.

“People of colour are often made to feel isolated or not made welcome, so we’ve tried to connect to the country by hiring coaches and bringing people over here.

“I think this is about ensuring people are given opportunities to engage with nature and the country, we need more conversations about this topic.”

The organiser said that despite making up 13% of the UK population, black people and people of colour (BPOC) make up only 1% of visitors to national parks, adding that just 39% of people from BPOC backgrounds live within a five-minute walk to green spaces compared with 58% of white people.

Although the Countryside and Rights of Way (CRoW) Act 2000 gives a legal right of public access to mountains, moorland, heaths, commons and the English coastal path, campaigners have asked for it to be extended to cover rivers, woods and green belt land.

The trespass comes in response to the Government’s shelving of the “right to roam” report.

Currently 92% of England’s land is privately owned and not available to access, according to Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion.

Environment minister Rebecca Pow said on Thursday that there were no plans to release the review, which Ms Lucas said was “profoundly disappointing”.

The review, headed by Lord Agnew, had included a potential expansion of the much-fought-over “right to roam”, which campaigners fear will not now go ahead.

Another protester who attended, said: “We only have access to 8%. of accessible land or a nobody wants to trample over crops, the land is in the countryside. We only have 8% now, and that’s the best it’s ever been.”

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