For the 90th Anniversary of the Kinder Trespass this year, Kinder In Colour focused on drawing attention to issues of inequality and inaccessibility to the countryside for Black and people of colour. The mass trespass gathered people to walk in solidarity with Kinder In Colour, amplifying the lack of access and barriers to belonging for Black and people of colour in rural areas and green spaces.
During the pandemic, people connected to nature in a way that was new and rewarding, with more people having time and incentive to visit parks and wild spaces. Even private spaces such as golf clubs opened doors to the public, and momentarily reconsidered who could benefit most from this land. The hugely popular Right to Roam legislation holds promise that land for recreation will be more accessible for more people - that land to roam on is a right, and not simply a permission from an elite minority who have the power to grant or deny it. And yet, the government has put this legislation on the back shelf, refusing to release their findings and shutting down debate, on the very same weekend of Kinder In Colour.
The mass trespass of Kinder Scout in 1932 was in fact a key catalyst for the National Parks Act being passed, granting the right to access these parks that we otherwise might not have today. Despite this, 90 years later we currently have the right to access just 8% of the English countryside (1). The Right to Roam legislation could be an instrumental step towards land justice; opening possibilities to walk through and discover the green landscapes that should belong to all, without being penalised for trespass. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill voted in this same week will create even more serious consequences for trespass, impacting some marginalised communities far worse than others.
It is important for all of us that private land shifts towards common good land use, but especially for those who live in areas with currently very little opportunity to step foot on untarmaced land. Despite making up 13% of the UK population, Black People and People of Colour (BPOC) make up only 1% of visitors to national parks (2). Let’s keep demanding better – one option is to ask your MP to sign an Early Day Motion (EDM). You can also get involved in the Right to Roam campaign by setting up or joining a local group, and signing up to hear news here.