Let’s Celebrate Lake District Trespassers

Lake District Trespassers Should Be Celebrated, says Cumbrian Author John Bainbridge

The Victorian protestors whose mass trespasses led to the freedom to roam in the Lake District should be celebrated with plaques in Keswick and Ambleside and commemorative walks, says the walking writer and novelist John Bainbridge.

Latrigg Fell 004
Keswick from Latrigg (c) John Bainbridge 2020

“Everyone has heard of the Kinder Scout Mass Trespass, but fewer people know of the mass trespasses that secured access to Latrigg Fell and Fawe Park, near Keswick, and the fight for Stock Ghyll waterfall at Ambleside,” John says. “Yet these very public actions led the resistance against many landowners who, in Victorian times, had closed off public footpaths and stretches of open fellside.”

John first encountered the stories of the mass trespasses at Keswick and Ambleside while working on the revised and expanded edition of his book The Compleat Trespasser. John had never heard of the trespasses until he moved to Cumbria, despite regularly trips to walk the Lakeland fells.

Latrigg Fell 006
Derwent Water from Latrigg (c) John Bainbridge 2020

“The trespassers were both local folk and famous visitors to the Lakes. But for their endeavours, Latrigg, Fawe Park and the beautiful waterfall at Stock Ghyll might still be closed to the public, and many other areas of the Lake District might have been lost.”

John believes that this important chapter in Lake District history shouldn’t be forgotten. “How wonderful it would be to see plaques put up in Keswick and Ambleside, and perhaps an annual commemorative walk from Keswick to Latrigg along the route taken by the trespassers.”

You can read more about the Lake District Mass Trespasses in my book The Compleat Trespasser. Out now in paperback and on Kindle. Just click on the link for more information.



Published by John Bainbridge

Rambler, hillwalker, stravaiger and trespasser, access campaigner. Novelist writing historical and period crime fiction.

4 thoughts on “Let’s Celebrate Lake District Trespassers

    1. Thing is though it wasn’t. What differentiates the Keswick protest from Kinder Scout etc. is that it wasn’t a working class protest, but crossed the class divide. It’s ringleaders were middle class as were many of the participants. The Keswick action is important because it frightened many landlords into not barring access to many of the places we take for granted today.


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