Last week in Edale, Derbyshire, the Ramblers launched their outdoors debate, Go all out.
Edale is the crucible of the access movement. On 24 April 1932 ramblers from Sheffield walked through Edale and up onto the moors to join the Manchester contingent on the Kinder mass trespass. Edale is in the heart of the Peak District, the first national park in Great Britain, and at the start of the Pennine Way, the first long-distance path (now national trail). So it was entirely appropriate that the Ramblers should choose this spot to open their debate on the future of the outdoors. I was there as Ramblers’ president.
We assembled in the Moorland Centre, surrounded by memorabilia of access battles: a facsimile of the plaque at Bowden Bridge, marking the start of the Kinder trespass,
a plaque presented to the Sheffield Clarion Ramblers by the Sheffield Campaign for Access to Moorland, in celebration of the former’s centenary,
a display including quotes from Ramblers’ veteran, the late John Bunting,
and an inspiring message from that visionary and father of the national parks, John Muir.
These served to remind us of the long way we have come in the last 78 years: so much achieved, but so much still to achieve. Paths are still blocked, access land is still inaccessible, green spaces are threatened with development, the completion of coastal access in England is uncertain—and much more. Our aims of championing paths and access, in town and country, are as important as ever and are not in question, but the Ramblers do want to hear how you think these aims should be achieved, and what it is that you love about the outdoors.
So go to the Ramblers’ website now and complete the online survey or download a discussion kit to talk about the issues in the pub or on walks.