Have you written to your MP yet about the government’s threat to your Freedom to Roam?

Write to your MP – ask them to attend the debate on trespass 

Thanks to the 134,000 of you who signed our petition, ‘Don’t criminalise trespass’, MPs will debate this issue in Parliament. The Petitions Committee had scheduled a debate for Monday 25th January 2021, but this has now been postponed due to Westminster Hall sittings being suspended. But the debate will be rescheduled, and it remains vital that we encourage MPs to attend and represent your views.

Please contact your MP using and adapting the template email below. You can look up your MP and their email address on the Parliament website here. Remember to include your postcode when you send your email, to show you’re a constituent, otherwise they won’t have to respond.

Template email for you to adapt and send to your MP:

Dear ____MP,

Subject: Don’t criminalise trespass – please register to attend the Petitions Committee debate 

As your constituent, I’m very concerned by the Government’s proposals to criminalise trespass. Together with over 134,000 other people, I signed this Parliamentary petition to oppose the criminalisation of trespass (here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/300139). If you follow the link, you can click through to a map showing how many other of your constituents also care deeply about this. 

The petition was scheduled for a Petitions Committee debate on Monday 25th January 2021, but has been postponed due to Westminster Hall sittings being suspended. But it will be rescheduled, and I would like you to attend to represent my concerns – please register with the Speaker to do so.

I’m concerned because criminalising trespass would be an extreme, illiberal and unnecessary attack on ancient freedoms that would threaten ramblers who stray from the path, wild campers, Travellers, peaceful protestors and the wider public keen to enjoy nature. Fear of criminalisation may even deter amateur naturalists from carrying out wildlife surveys, as some scientists have warned.

Access to nature is vital for everyone’s physical and mental health – something lockdown demonstrated vividly. Last year’s exceptional spring, combined with the coronavirus regulations, meant many people stopped to observe and experience nature in ways they hadn’t since childhood. With restrictions on overseas travel, many more people enjoyed their summer holidays in the British countryside. Sales of camping equipment have soared; British Canoeing has seen a 40% jump in membership; and National Parks have seen huge numbers of visitors from sections of the population who’ve never visited them before.

Criminalising trespass would create a massive chilling effect on visits to the countryside. Many people are already put off visiting rural Britain through unfamiliarity, poor transport links, existing civil trespass laws and a general sense that they don’t belong or aren’t welcome in the countryside. Such feelings are multiplied greatly for Black, Asian and ethnic minority Britons.

Criminalising trespass isn’t just draconian, it’s completely unnecessary. Landowners who wish to sue trespassers can already do so via the courts. Police forces have stated they don’t want or need any additional powers to deal with unauthorised encampments, whether by Travellers or protestors (see https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/14/police-oppose-traveller-and-gypsy-camp-crackdown-foi-shows). Gypsies and Travellers are already amongst the most marginalised communities in the UK, and criminalising trespass or increasing police powers of eviction would compound the inequalities they experience.

Criminalising trespass is opposed by numerous access and environment groups, from the Ramblers and British Mountaineering Council to CPRE and the British Horse Society, who wrote to the Home Secretary earlier this year urging her to reconsider the proposals (see https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/rethink-trespass-law-ramblers-urge-priti-patel-8ghgj3m8n). It is also opposed across party lines: the chair of the Conservative Environment Network, Ben Goldsmith, wrote an article in the Telegraph this Autumn calling on the Government to drop plans to criminalise trespass (see https://www.telegraph.co.uk/environment/2020/10/22/ben-goldsmith-calls-government-drop-plans-criminalise-trespass/). 

The Petitions Committee has said a debate on this will be rescheduled soon. I’m therefore calling on you as my representative to please attend the debate, and to relay my concerns and those shared by people up and down the country.

Yours sincerely,

[Your name and postcode]

PLEASE WRITE TODAY!

Become a Ramblers Trustee

The Ramblers is looking for new trustees to help the charity grow and develop.

Our trustees govern the Ramblers and direct how is it managed and run, on behalf of members. This is an exciting time to join the board of trustees. The charity is undergoing a period of rapid transformation as we react to changes in our external and internal environments.
This year there are a number of vacancies on the board of trustees, each beginning in April 2021:Chair – three-year termHonorary treasurer – three-year termOrdinary member – three vacancies, each for a three year-termOrdinary member – one vacancy for a one-year term We welcome applications from all parts of the membership in line with our values of being inclusive to all. The board recognises that having trustees with a variety of perspectives, experiences and skills can help to improve its effectiveness. 

The board has indicated that the following skills, knowledge or experience are important to support the needs of the charity, and to deliver the objectives within our strategic framework and current business plan:Equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in nature and the countryside   Marketing and brand Income generation and fundraisingCampaigning and policyThe board particularly encourages applications from members with a lived experience of black, Asian, minoritised ethnic, and LGBTQ+ communities to help us think through the strategic challenges for the Ramblers, and how we can become more welcoming to everyone. These experiences are currently under-represented on the board.
 
Trustee nomination pack and nomination form
The nomination pack, which contains further information about the vacancies and how to apply, can be found at www.ramblers.org.uk/trustees2021.

If you would like help or further information about completing the nomination form or the election process, please contact Simon Kellas, governance manager, and he will be delighted to help. If you would like to discuss your application informally with me or any other current trustee, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can contact us by emailing simon.kellas@ramblers.org.uk.

The deadline for receipt of nominations is 6 March 2021.
 Kindest regards,

Kate Ashbrook, chair, board of trustees

Mr Crossing’s Guide to Dartmoor

s-l225

Just a look at some past blogs recent blog-watchers might have missed.

One of the best things we did in my time as chief exec. of the Dartmoor Preservation Association, was to pay for the restoration of the gravestone of William Crossing, author of the classic Guide to Dartmoor and many other works about the Moor. Before we had the stone in Mary Tavy churchyard re-lettered, it was hard to read. It was a job well done.

Crossing’s Guide to Dartmoor was first published in 1909, and it remains the most detailed book about the Moor.

(Note that: The Moor, with a capital M. While you may be in the Lake District, or the Scottish Highlands, you are always on Dartmoor. If you are in Dartmoor, it means you’re banged up in the prison – I never have been. They haven’t caught me yet! Though I have several times found myself within its precincts.)

Back in the 1960s, it was hard to get a copy of the Guide, until in 1965 David and Charles did an admirable reprint, with an introduction by Brian Le Messurier. Brian wrote introductions for several other Crossing books.

As a teenager with a Dartmoor obsession, I devoured the guide. Brian was sensible not to try to update the guide. It didn’t need it, Dartmoor hadn’t changed that much in sixty years, despite being Britain’s most abused National Park, and, as Brian pointed out, the result wouldn’t have been Crossing’s guide.VLUU L110, M110  / Samsung L110, M110

There’s not a bit of Dartmoor left out from the hundreds of walks Crossing suggests, or not that I’ve found. And his Hints to the Dartmoor Rambler chapter is one of the best thoughts on what you might encounter on your walks. The summary of ancient tracks is superb, giving further scope for moorland expeditions.

Best of all, Crossing caught Dartmoor at an interesting time, before the modern world got at it. When folk farmed in a traditional way, when old folktales were still being told around the moorland hearths, when antiquarianism was being transformed into archaeology.

William Crossing was born in 1840 and died in 1928. He lived a lot of his life in poverty, writing hard to keep himself out of the workhouse. In old age, crippled up with rheumatism, only the charity of friends kept him from poor relief. He did some desultory, badly-paid work for the Dartmoor Preservation Association, which hardly benefited him (I know the feeling!)

His contribution to the DPA’s work has never been properly appreciated.VLUU L110, M110  / Samsung L110, M110

I think back fifty years to the day I emerged from a Newton Abbot bookshop with my copy of the reprint. Now, though I collect guidebooks, I seldom follow routes in them, but I made up my mind that day to walk every single walk Crossing suggested – and I did, though it took several years. Interestingly, there were only a few where I had to improvise, where, for example, reservoirs had been built or conifers planted – I do wonder how many other Dartmoor walkers have done every walk in the book exactly as Crossing suggested?

In that period, everyone referred to the book simply as “Crossing”, such was its authority. I suspect most Dartmoor walkers these days hardly glance at it, which is their loss. There are some excellent modern writers of Dartmoor guidebooks, but none of the present generation come close to William Crossing.VLUU L110, M110  / Samsung L110, M110

I used Crossing’s work as written evidence in numerous Dartmoor campaigns, from fighting mining companies to preserving the ancient lines of footpaths. He remains an authority worth quoting.

When I quit the Dartmoor Preservation Association in 2005, it was suggested to me that I should write a topographical book on the Moor. I gave it serious thought and decided not to do it. How could I compete with writers like Crossing, or Richard Hansford Worth, a predecessor of mine at the DPA, who wrote fine archaeological essays about the place?

I may still write a non-fiction Dartmoor book – you might like to try my Dartmoor thriller novel Dangerous Game – but it won’t be a guide, more an autobiography of those days when Dartmoor was less crowded, when I explored the Moor in Crossing’s footsteps. I can’t compete with the great William Crossing.

I shall never do all those Crossing walks again, but doing them when I was young enabled me to get to know Dartmoor really well. A foundation which served me well in the years that followed.

So if you are near Dartmoor and want to get to know the place really well, find yourself a copy of Crossing’s Guide to Dartmoor, and start on those walks. It’ll take you a few years but, if you have the energy, you’ll know the Old Moor in a way that’ll be the envy of Dartmoor dilettantes.

And, if you do, I envy you the chance of following in Mr Crossing’s footsteps for the very first time

Lobby Your MP on New Trespass Law

Write to your MP – ask them to attend the debate on trespass 

Thanks to the 134,000 of you who signed our petition, ‘Don’t criminalise trespass’, MPs will debate this issue in Parliament. The Petitions Committee had scheduled a debate for Monday 25th January 2021, but this has now been postponed due to Westminster Hall sittings being suspended. But the debate will be rescheduled, and it remains vital that we encourage MPs to attend and represent your views.

Please contact your MP using and adapting the template email below. You can look up your MP and their email address on the Parliament website here. Remember to include your postcode when you send your email, to show you’re a constituent, otherwise they won’t have to respond.

Template email for you to adapt and send to your MP:

Dear ____MP,

Subject: Don’t criminalise trespass – please register to attend the Petitions Committee debate 

As your constituent, I’m very concerned by the Government’s proposals to criminalise trespass. Together with over 134,000 other people, I signed this Parliamentary petition to oppose the criminalisation of trespass (here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/300139). If you follow the link, you can click through to a map showing how many other of your constituents also care deeply about this. 

The petition was scheduled for a Petitions Committee debate on Monday 25th January 2021, but has been postponed due to Westminster Hall sittings being suspended. But it will be rescheduled, and I would like you to attend to represent my concerns – please register with the Speaker to do so.

I’m concerned because criminalising trespass would be an extreme, illiberal and unnecessary attack on ancient freedoms that would threaten ramblers who stray from the path, wild campers, Travellers, peaceful protestors and the wider public keen to enjoy nature. Fear of criminalisation may even deter amateur naturalists from carrying out wildlife surveys, as some scientists have warned.

Access to nature is vital for everyone’s physical and mental health – something lockdown demonstrated vividly. Last year’s exceptional spring, combined with the coronavirus regulations, meant many people stopped to observe and experience nature in ways they hadn’t since childhood. With restrictions on overseas travel, many more people enjoyed their summer holidays in the British countryside. Sales of camping equipment have soared; British Canoeing has seen a 40% jump in membership; and National Parks have seen huge numbers of visitors from sections of the population who’ve never visited them before.

Criminalising trespass would create a massive chilling effect on visits to the countryside. Many people are already put off visiting rural Britain through unfamiliarity, poor transport links, existing civil trespass laws and a general sense that they don’t belong or aren’t welcome in the countryside. Such feelings are multiplied greatly for Black, Asian and ethnic minority Britons.

Criminalising trespass isn’t just draconian, it’s completely unnecessary. Landowners who wish to sue trespassers can already do so via the courts. Police forces have stated they don’t want or need any additional powers to deal with unauthorised encampments, whether by Travellers or protestors (see https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/14/police-oppose-traveller-and-gypsy-camp-crackdown-foi-shows). Gypsies and Travellers are already amongst the most marginalised communities in the UK, and criminalising trespass or increasing police powers of eviction would compound the inequalities they experience.

Criminalising trespass is opposed by numerous access and environment groups, from the Ramblers and British Mountaineering Council to CPRE and the British Horse Society, who wrote to the Home Secretary earlier this year urging her to reconsider the proposals (see https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/rethink-trespass-law-ramblers-urge-priti-patel-8ghgj3m8n). It is also opposed across party lines: the chair of the Conservative Environment Network, Ben Goldsmith, wrote an article in the Telegraph this Autumn calling on the Government to drop plans to criminalise trespass (see https://www.telegraph.co.uk/environment/2020/10/22/ben-goldsmith-calls-government-drop-plans-criminalise-trespass/). 

The Petitions Committee has said a debate on this will be rescheduled soon. I’m therefore calling on you as my representative to please attend the debate, and to relay my concerns and those shared by people up and down the country.

Yours sincerely,

[Your name and postcode]

PLEASE WRITE TODAY!

Plans to change trespass rules could erode access to the countryside

18 January 2021

The Future of Public Access

The Ramblers has written to the Home Office, Ministry of Justice and Defra to express grave concerns about the government’s proposals to change trespass rules. This would be a major change in the law – and could have a significant impact on people’s ability to access the countryside.

The Ramblers previously raised alarm about the proposals in response to a Conservative Party manifesto commitment to ‘criminalise intentional trespass’ and subsequent Home Office consultation on police powers. The latest letter comes ahead of the publication of the Police Powers and Protections Bill and is written together with a range of other organisations – including CPRE, the countryside charity, the Open Spaces Society, British Mountaineering Council, Friends of the Earth, British Canoeing and Cycling UK.  

Gemma Cantelo, head of policy and advocacy at the Ramblers, said: 

“Government’s priority should be to make it easier for people to get outside, enjoy the benefits of walking and connect to the natural environment. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted just how critical this is our physical and mental health.”

You can read the full letter here.

Books by Patricia Furstenberg

Travel, History, Fiction and Dogs

hiking-scotland.co.uk

Outdoor Adventures in Scotland

Walk the Old Ways

Rambling Journeys in Britain with John Bainbridge. Fighting for the Right to Roam. Campaigning to Protect Our Countryside.

COLONEL UNTHANK'S NORWICH

History, Decorative Arts, Buildings

Norfolk Tales, Myths & More!

Stories From Norfolk and Beyond - Be They Past, Present, Fact, Fiction, Mythological, Legend or Folklore.

Blaggers' Blog

Adventures from Dartmoor and beyond

No Sidebar

Design a Simple Life

Becoming Minimalist

Own less. Live more. Finding minimalism in a world of consumerism.

Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire's Moors

Campaigning to end grouse shooting on Yorkshire's moors.

sunshine and celandines

These are a few of my favourite things.

Lakeland Walking Tales

Walks, stories and musings from the Lake District Fells

Daniel Greenwood

Unlocking landscapes

Stonehenge Stone Circle News and Information

Stonehenge Visitors Guide www.Stonehenge.News

Know Your London

A good place to find out about the history of Inner London. There’s no fake-history on this Website.

a new nature blog

I write about politics, nature + the environment. Some posts are serious, some not. These are my views, I don't do any promotional stuff and these views are not being expressed for anyone who employs me.

Reading 1900-1950

The special collection of popular fiction at Sheffield Hallam University

Mick Canning

My Writings

Pam Lecky

Historical Fiction Author

A Suffolk Lane

A diary of my life in rural north Suffolk.

CampaignerKate

Campaigning for open spaces

Friends of the Ullswater Way Blog

Celebrating Our Heritage

heavywhalley.wordpress.com/

Just another WordPress.com site

Pathways to the Past

Exploring the legacy of Ethelburga - a community project focused on the Anglo-Saxon heritage of Lyminge, a village in the Elham Valley in East Kent.

Geraldine Evans's Books

Mystery Without Gore...Bio Historical with Love

Sophie Neville

Writer and Producer

Bee in the Moment

Taking time to notice nature.

The Journal Of Antiquities

Ancient Sites In Great Britain & Southern Ireland

John D Burns

Mountaineer, Storyteller and writer.

Musings on Life & Experience

Poetry, Fiction, & Non-Fiction Writings

A Literary Bent

All about books, the people who write them, sell them and read them...reviews and news, travel and photography.

setinthepast

Historical novels, films and TV programmes

AndyClarkWalks

When out walking a new route, I often think about how, when I have completed the walk, I should look up and find out more information about some of the places I have seen. This does not actually happen as often as it should. Hopefully, this site will go some way to redressing this.

Path Watch

Someone's got to do it.

Ratmobile Adventures

Family adventures around Britain in a small car

Ailish Sinclair

Stories and photos from Scotland

Welcome to the Beautiful North

Whimsical musings on my travels around the north of England and beyond

Be More with Less

Simplify your life. Declutter your mind. Connect with your heart.

walkingisaacsteatrail

The short-distance approach to walking a long-distance footpath.

Zombie Salmon (the Horror Continues)

A blog about Horror fiction, Horror writing, and Horror criticism...a continuation of The Horror at Open Salon

The Dorset Rambler

Exploring the countryside and lanes of Dorset

treksandtors

A photographic record of walks on Dartmoor and the surrounding areas

bowlandclimber

Walks and climbs

The LongWalker

Long Walking, Long Thinking, and Deep Nature Connection