Today is the anniversary of the Mass Trespass at Kinder Scout, in the Peak District, Derbyshire. Before this date walkers were denied access to open land, the trespass acting as a protest against the landowners and gamekeepers claiming ramblers would ruin vegetation and pollute water supplies. The 1932 trespass dawned the Ramblers Association which culminated in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, which legislates rights to walk on mapped access land.
The debates are far from over and this year Leaders of the National TRust, Ramblers and the Open Spaces Society, which was founded in 1865 to protect common land, are expected to fire up an opening rally at Edale with warnings about the potential effects of new planning laws and the slow progress of mapping most lowland areas for open access. Although I find issues with both new planning and conservation problematic, the "right to roam"to open land seems a fundamental right...here is another interesting article regarding the Localism Bill from the Guardian.