THE COMPLEAT TRESPASSER
In 1932, five ramblers in England were imprisoned for daring to walk in their own countryside. The Mass Trespass on to Kinder Scout, which led to their arrests, has since becoming an iconic symbol of the campaign for the freedom to roam in the British countryside.
The Compleat Trespasser – Journeys Into The Heart Of Forbidden Britain, written by outdoor journalist John Bainbridge, looks at just why the British were – and still are – denied responsible access to much of their own land. This ground-breaking book examines how events throughout history led to the countryside being the preserve of the few rather than the many.
It examines the landscapes to which access is still denied, from stretches of moorland and downland to many of our beautiful forests and woodlands. It poses the question: should we walk and trespass through these areas regardless of restrictions?
An inveterate trespasser, John Bainbridge gives an account of some of his own journeys into Britain’s forbidden lands, as he walks in the steps of poachers, literary figures and pioneer ramblers. The book concludes with a helpful chapter of “Notes for Prospective Trespassers”, giving a practical feel to this handbook on the art of trespass. At a time when government is putting our civil liberties at threat, destroying the beauties of our countryside, and your right to access it, this book is a most useful read.
The Compleat Trespasser is now available at a special price for a limited period of £2.06 on Amazon Kindle (you don’t need a Kindle to read the book, a free Kindle App. is downloadable from the www.Amazon.co.uk or www.amazon.com websites). Published by Fellside Books.
OPEN SPACES SOCIETY
NEW LAW THREATENS PUBLIC’S RIGHTS ON OPEN SPACES AND PATHS
The Open Spaces Society,(1) Britain’s oldest national conservation body, is alarmed that the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, which is to have its second reading in the House of Commons on Monday (10 June) could make trespass a criminal offence in public places in England.
The Bill will enable a local authority to designate a Public Spaces Protection Order if it is satisfied, on reasonable grounds, that two conditions are met. These are that activities carried on in a public place have a detrimental effect on the quality of life of local people and that those activities are unreasonable. The order may include a public highway.
There is nothing in the Bill to stop a local authority from banning the public completely from land which has been designated as a Public Spaces Protection Order. The new law will make breach of an order a criminal offence, which means that trespass, normally a civil offence, becomes a crime. It could unfairly restrict the public’s rights to enjoy paths and open spaces.
The society is concerned that (1) there is no definition of ‘reasonable’, (2) the order could be applied to land with public rights of access (common land and village greens for instance), (3) the authority is not required to advertise its intentions; (4) in the case of a highway the authority is only required ‘to consider’ the availability of an alternative route; (5) the order may endure for up to three years, and (6) those allowed to challenge an order in the high court are strictly limited.
Says Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society: ‘While we appreciate that there are instances where anti-social behaviour must be curbed, we have called on MPs to amend the bill to ameliorate its vicious effect on the public. We propose the following.
‘Land with a public right of access should be excluded from the Public Spaces Protection Orders. There should be a prescribed list of organisations to be consulted whenever an order is proposed. If there are objectors to an order, there should be a public hearing or public inquiry so the plan can be independently examined. In the case of public highways, the authority should be required to find an alternative route: if there is none, the order should not be made. The order should be reviewed after six months, not three years. There should be no restriction on who can challenge an order in the high court.
We have called on MPs to seek amendments to the Bill to reduce its damaging effects on the public.’
Notes for editors
1 The Open Spaces Society is Britain’s oldest national conservation body, founded in 1865. It campaigns for the protection of common land, town and village greens, other open spaces and public paths, in town and country, in England and Wales.
Contact: Kate Ashbrook email@example.com
The Open Spaces Society
25A Bell Street
Henley on Thames RG9 2BA
registered charity 1144840
registered in England and Wales, ltd co no 7846516