All rest-days cancelled

I joined the anti-Trump demo near Chequers, where President Trump was meeting Prime Minister Theresa May this morning.  The demo was at Butlers Cross, about a mile from Chequers.  As the road past Chequers had been closed, this spot was the closest we could get to the big house.

3a road closed

About 400 protesters gathered at the crossroads where there were wide grass verges.

1 Crowd

Part of the crowd

I had hoped for a walk but there was no one in charge, and no speeches or marches, just occasional outbreaks of chanting.  (If it had been a Ramblers’ event it would have been better organised!)

There was a good selection of posters,

4 Poster 1

5 Poster 2

6 Poster 3

7 Poster 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

two giant puppets,

2 puppets

a pair in wigs,

9 Trump wigsand, despite the heat, a selection of knitted ‘pussy hats’.

8 Pussy hat

There were plenty of police on hand, although they had little to do.

3 police

Plenty of police, just in case

After a while I left the demo and walked back to Ellesborough.  I took the footpath across the field to Beacon Hill, beautifully-shaped like a child’s drawing, on the Chiltern escarpment.

10 Beacon Hill

Beacon Hill

With some difficulty, we won a right to walk here under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.  The rooftop of Chequers are just visible from the top, so I wanted to check that access was not being denied on this demo day.

12 Chequers

Chequers rooftops from Beacon Hill

Because of the proximity of Chequers, Beacon Hill is surrounded by land where trespass has been made a criminal offence under section 128 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005.  (In fact, at first the criminal-trespass land wrongly extended over the access land, and I had to lobby parliament to get it corrected—see here.)

11 View from Beacon Hill

The view from Beacon Hill

Today all was well, there were about ten policemen on the other side of the fence but no one stopped me from walking where I had the right to go.

Drafted in
I chatted to some of the police.  They had been drafted in from the West Midlands force and told me that, on account of Trump’s visit, all rest-days had been cancelled.  In fact they were having quite a rest on the top of the hill in the shade of an awning, but that’s not the point.

16 awning

Because of Trump’s insistence on visiting, they had been forced to desert their home patch, where already their numbers have been savagely cut, in order to ensure there were no incidents in Buckinghamshire.

There was a new temporary fence beyond the existing fence, and plenty of signs about criminal trespass—but the new, temporary signs had been prepared so quickly that no one had bothered to check the spelling of ‘trespass’.

14 Sign

Existing sign

15 Tresspass sign

New, temporary sign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was pleasant to chat to the police and fill them in on rights-of-way and access law, on which they receive no training.  They do not consider it to be a priority, but I am sure it would be useful to them.

Advertisements

About campaignerkate

I am the general secretary of the Open Spaces Society and I campaign for public access, paths and open spaces in town and country.
This entry was posted in Access, campaigns, walking and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to All rest-days cancelled

  1. John Bainbridge says:

    I’ve been on many a policed demo and am always amazed that the police seem to have so little understanding of highway law.

  2. Bob Coles says:

    Well done Kate,the Trump idiot should have been strangled at birth. How he gets away with the
    American Public suggests how vulnerable they have become. I have great memories Of Beacon
    Hill when we were working on Freedom to Roam.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s