It is hard to imagine now, that in the past, wealthy land owners would not allow the general public on their land. Yet without direct action taken by Bernard “Benny” Rothman and others, we would not be able to enjoy walking and hiking in the British countryside to the extent that so many of us do. As you may or may not know, Benny Rothman was instrumental in the 1932 mass trespass on Kinder Scout. A detailed account of the trespass, its place in British history and how it led to the formation of our National Parks and the Countryside and Rights of Way Act can be found on the Kinder Trespass website.
In April 1932 over 400 people participated in a mass trespass onto Kinder Scout, a bleak moorland plateau, the highest terrain in the Peak District.
The event was organised by the Manchester branch of the British Workers Sports Federation. They chose to notify the local press in advance, and as a result, Derbyshire Constabulary turned out in force. A smaller group of ramblers from Sheffield set off from Edale and met up with the main party on the Kinder edge path.
Five men from Manchester, including the leader, Benny Rothman, were subsequently jailed.
A few weeks later in 1932 10,000 ramblers – the largest number in history – assembled for an access rally in the Winnats Pass, near Castleton, and the pressure for greater access continued to grow. www.kindertrespass.com.
Blue Plaque for Benny Rothman
The year 2012 marks the 80th Anniversary of the Kinder Trespass and as part of the commemorations Trafford Council have honoured Mr Rothman by placing blue plaque on his former house in Timperley. After reading about the unveiling ceremony on the BMC website, I went to 86 Crofton Avenue to have a look at the plaque. As someone who has hiked on Kinder Scout many times, it is a particularly poignant reminder that in the past I could not have enjoyed free and easy access to the open countryside. So for me, Benny Rothman is certainly a hero who deserves to be remembered!
To have such a plaque in your name means you have made a big impression on society. It’s because of Mr Rothman that we are able to enjoy our countryside as freely as we can today. Cllr. Jonathan Coupe, of Trafford council.
My favourite walking route on Kinder Scout can be found on Share Your Adventure. It includes an ascent via “William Clough”, which is the same path taken by Benny Rothman and his fellow trespassers back in 1932.