The Kinder Scout mass trespass of 1932

In 1932, a mass public trespass took place on Kinder Scout – a landmark protest in improving access to the countryside.

A landmark protest on the route to improving walkers’ access rights 

On Sunday 24 April 1932, a mass public trespass took place on Kinder Scout, the highest point on land now known as the Peak District.  It was a landmark protest on the route to improving access to the countryside for all. 

The Ramblers were founded soon after and we've been campaigning for access rights ever since. 


The call to trespass

This mass trespass was an iconic event in the battle to regain access to the countryside. During the 18th and 19th centuries under the Enclosure Acts, landowners had restricted access to what  was previously common land, where anyone could graze their sheep or enjoy a walk.  

By the 1930s Kinder Scout and much of the surrounding moorland was owned by the Duke of Devonshire.  It was kept for grouse-shooting and patrolled by gamekeepers. The workers of northern England were becoming frustrated at being forbidden access to enjoy walking in the countryside. A typed notice began circulating, calling on people to join “a Ramblers’ Rally on Kinder”. 

400 activists heeded the call and marched up Kinder Scout to protest.  


The birth of a movement

Landowners sent in gamekeepers to remove the trespassers.  After violent clashes several of the ramblers were arrested and jailed. Defending his action in court, one of the protestors, 21 year old Benny Rothman said

A graphic containing a quote: "We ramblers, after a hard week's work, in smoky towns and cities, go out rambling for relaxation and resh air. And we find the finest rambling country is closed to us… Our request, or demand, for acces to all peaks and uncultivated moorland is nothing unreasonable." - 21 year old Benny Rothman

During the following weeks there was outcry at the sentences which sparked much larger trespasses. Public opinion started to sway in favour of the trespassers. This public outcry birthed the access movement that saw the founding of the Ramblers (Association) in 1935.  Ever since then we have achieved many wins as Britain’s walking charity. 


Access wins

From 1935 to today, the Ramblers have campaigned tirelessly for walkers’ rights.  In the same spirit as those who led the way at Kinder Scout we want to ensure everyone, everywhere can access the countryside and benefit from the joys of walking in nature.  

We've taken great strides and won many victories on access rights over the years, including: 

  • The establishment of National Parks and National Trails, beginning – fittingly – with the Peak District in 1951  

  • Gaining access to millions of acres of land in England and Wales  

  • Gaining Scottish access rights 

  • The creation of coastal paths 


The fight for access continues

We believe the joys of walking belong to everyone and we continue to fight for the right for everyone to be able to enjoy walking in the countryside.   

As we continue to celebrate the impact and legacy of the Kinder Scout Trespass, access remains limited and unequal and there are many challenges we face today in protecting and expanding access rights to our countryside. 

By donating to the Ramblers or becoming a member, you will be supporting a movement of people fighting for better access to nature for everyone in Britain.


Campaign with us - protect the places we walk

Walking is a simple pleasure that should be open to everyone, so we campaign to remove barriers to walking and we protect the places we love to wander.

Six young Ramblers, and a westie on a lead, walking in a field on a sunny day.

About us

In 1935 the Ramblers Association was created and ever since we’ve been doing everything we can to make sure everyone everywhere can enjoy nature on foot.