Sedona Hiking Trail Map

THE KINDER TRESPASS

Shrewd bluffers will have gathered by now that there is periodic friction between hikers and landowners. Hikers are not normally a militant bunch, but the open-access land enjoyed today may not have come about if it hadn’t been for a bunch of hard-core hikers out for a walk on 24 April 1932. That’s when 400 of them set off from Bowden Bridge quarry to climb to the summit of Kinder Scout, the highest point in Derbyshire. Working on the principle of safety in numbers, they survived an altercation with the Duke of Devonshire’s gamekeepers halfway up their ascent (although one of the gamekeepers claimed to suffer a slight injury) and continued to meet up on the summit with some hikers from Sheffield who’d trespassed from nearby Edale. When they returned to civilisation, five of them were arrested and subsequently charged on the grounds of unlawful assembly and breach of the peace. They were imprisoned for between two and six months. You shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that ‘open-access land’ is always open, or accessible.

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This outraged the public, and the campaign for a right to roam gained momentum A few weeks later, 10,000 hikers assembled for another rally in Winnats Pass, near Castleton, Derbyshire. You should make a mental note never to annoy a dyed-in-the-wool hiker. While they may appear to be a solitary wanderer, their camaraderie means they can raise more troops than a small African nation.

The government, having been sidetracked by the Second World War, realised that something had to be done. So it created the ‘definitive map’ disaster and passed legislation creating the national parks – but nothing was said about the right to roam It was only in 2000 that legislation was passed that allowed hikers to reach their roaming destination. Government officials were presumably ‘temporarily misplaced’ on a regular basis while implementing the law, seeing as the right didn’t come into effect until 2005.

You shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that ‘open-access land’ is always open, or accessible. In fact, any ‘open-access land’ designated on your map with a Ready Brek orange glow around its perimeter may include the following, all of which are out of bounds to hikers:

• buildings

• land that is within 20m (65ft) of a building containing livestock, or a house

• land beneath electricity pylons or wind turbines

• quarries

• golf courses/racecourses

• aerodromes

• arable land

• a couple of muddy fields in Somerset during the Glastonbury Festival

Look for the white disc with a brown hiker walking on brown hills, created to advise hikers when they are entering open-access land. When you leave such land you may spot a similar sign with a red diagonal line across it to denote the fact that open-access freedom no longer applies. Alternatively, there may be a landowner-improvised sign telling you, in the politest possible terms, to go away.

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