Walking hero remembered

Kinder Scout arrestsA plaque commemorating the late access campaigner Benny Rothman will be unveiled at his former home in Manchester today.

Rothman, who died in 2002 aged 90, played an integral role in the opening up of the British countryside and was a leading figure in the mass trespass on Kinder Scout in 1932 which is seen by many as a catalyst for the ‘right to roam’ movement.

Part of the group of walkers who set out on Kinder Scout – a moorland plateau in what is now the Peak District – on 24 April 1932 in an act of willful trespass, Rothman was one of six arrested for his actions and one of five charged with unlawful assembly and breach of the peace.

The trespass was a pivotal moment in the journey for walkers’ access rights which culminated in the landmark Countryside and Rights of Way Act (CRoW) 2000 which gave walkers the ‘right to roam’ over open countryside in England and Wales.

“Thanks to dedicated campaigners like Benny Rothman, we can now all enjoy a walk over mountain and moorland” said Ramblers Chief Executive Benedict Southworth, who joined the 80th anniversary celebrations of the mass trespass in April this year.

“It’s hard to picture a time when the countryside in England and Wales was out of bounds to most people – but that’s what it was like in the 1930s” added Benedict. “80 years on from the original Kinder trespass it’s wonderful that such an inspirational figure in the access movement is being recognised and remembered in this way.”

The Blue Plaque will be unveiled by Trafford Council at 86 Crofton Avenue in Timperley, Manchester, where Rothman lived for 58 years between 1939 and 1997. There is also a display of his life and achievements as environmental and access campaigner at Timperley Library.