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Ramblers welcome tribute to Kinder trespass leader

Posted 25 October 2012
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Ramblers welcome tribute to Kinder trespass leader
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The Ramblers has welcomed the unveiling of a plaque on the former home of Benny Rothman, leader of the famous 1932 Kinder Trespass.

It has been placed on the side of the home in Timperley, Greater Manchester, where the late access campaigner - who died in 2002 aged 90 - lived from 1939 to 1997.

Seen by many as a pivotal moment in the history of the access movement, the wilful incursion onto the privately-owned land of the mountain from William Clough on April 24th 1932 led to several people being arrested for riotous assembly, after one of the gamekeepers trying to stop the trespass was injured during fighting.

Rothman was one of five jailed for the incident, a fate the Ramblers believes helped to galvanise the access movement, with pressure ultimately leading to the creation of national parks in 1949 and right-to-roam legislation under the Countryside and Rigths of Way Act in 2000.

Ramblers chief executive Benedict Southworth said: "Thanks to dedicated campaigners like Benny Rothman, we can now all enjoy a walk over mountain and moorland."

He added: "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."

Those heading for Kinder in their hiking boots today can see many reminders of the events of 1932, with those parking in the Bowden Bridge car park encountering a plaque commemorating the event. The site was a quarry 80 years ago and it was there that Rothman climbed onto a rock to address the trespassers before they set off.

In addition to this, a sign at the foot of William Clough describes the events of the day and their aftermath.

However, not everybody was convinced the Trespass truly made a difference.

In his book Kinder - a Portrait of a Mountain - author Roly Smith recalled how his friend and former Ramblers' Association chairman Tom Stephenson had been against the trespass and was adamant it did not make a difference.

Walkers may enjoy Stephenson's own impact on Kinder, as he first proposed the idea of the Pennine Way in 1935, a dream that became reality when the path was established as Britain's first national trail in 1965.

It crosses Kinder via two alternative routes before heading northwards all the way to Scotland.