Right to roam: the place of Kinder Trespass 80 years on

Today marks 80 years to the day since the mass trespass movement struck out onto the foothills and slopes of Kinder Scout, Derbyshire. This was essentially an urban invasion of private rural land, which was at that time still largely gamekeeper-controlled. This divisive incident and the arrests that resulted from it were arguably a powerful precursor to several later developments in the widening of countryside access. These included the later formation of the National Parks Authority as well as the much more recent establishment of ‘right to roam’ under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act of 2000.

The Sense of Place project has already begun to consider the potential for using tools relating to museum collections out in the countryside itself. It hopes to examine ways of facilitating interested walkers in their exploration of the holdings of institutions like MERL. Such virtual rambles might thereby enable them to access information about artefacts in the very places that the items were made, used, or to which they are otherwise contextually linked.

Hopefully we’ll return to this idea as the project develops but for now, happy birthday Kinder Trespass! Incidentally, the Kinder Scout trespass movement has apparently given rise to some influential folk music (as well as other popular discourse) over the years. A good excuse therefore to mention tonight’s MERL Folk Concert.