In the United Kingdom, the freedom to walk through private land is known as “the right to roam.” The movement to win this right was started in the 1930s by a rebellious group of young people who called themselves “ramblers” and spent their days working in the factories of Manchester, England.
Plus, bothy talk.
Right to Roam
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is ninety: nine percent, invisible, I'm roman Mars.
When producer Katy mingles, dad retired, he began walking a lot.
It has been a walker, but with all the new time on his hands, is walking, took on a forest gunnbiorn fervour. He started doing these really long multi day tracks through the countryside and even though is american. He mostly preferred to walk in the UK. In fact, over the course of several years he walked the entire length of great Britain and on one of these many trips in two thousand and three, I was walking through beautiful, rolling hills and wooded area in their work.
They were just literally hundreds and hundreds of pheasants and grouse along the trail and you walk along and they would fly up in the air,
My dad Jim mingle, I walked and walked in
got later and later, and I realized I couldn't get back to my
be in B. Where I was staying. So I decided I I would hitchhike back his hacking is dangerous dad, but go on. I stuck up
At some point
This jeep hopped in and
There was the sky sitting there, all dressed in a sort of traditional tweed out, fed the funny cap, and there was a shot gun on the rack and back which you never ever saw in Britain, and we got to
talking, king, and he said he was the gamekeeper for Madonna and Guy Richie, my dad
walking through Madonna's private state when he was picked up by her gamekeeper
which is a thing a lot of wealthy landowners happening lent a person who manages the hunting activity on their land rate. So this gamekeeper drove him back to the village where he was staying and drop
math and no his story doesn't end with him meeting Madonna. I wish it did too
and I ask about Madonna, how he liked this game pre keeper liked working for her and he
he said he loved his job and he thought Madonna was just wonderful, favorite Madonna Sand and have no
I don't like the idea of the done. I've got very good of remembering those kinds of things now that we have established that meant
As is wonderful and my dad can't name a single one of her songs, you might be asking yourself as I was
that what were you doing in Madonna's backyard? I was.
Walking most of the time across private property,
I was walking from one
feel turnover tax climbing over the fence where there are through a gate and
going on in this was this was permitted. It's too
my dad what the length of great Britain and was on private property. A lot of the time which is different
Cecily than the way we do things in the. U S. If you wanted to walk across this country,
have to do it on a combination of public trails and roads, and you certainly couldn't cut across Madonna's property. This
right in Britain to walk through private land. Is
colloquially as the right to Rome and the
ooh to win. This right was started in the nineteen thirties by
rebellious group of young people dressed in army surplus shorts and hiking boots. Carry
a canvas rucksack and canteens. They called themselves ramblers.
Is one of those quaint out English were
I don't know where it came from really, but it means walking a hiking in the countryside,
Rowley Smith, a rambler, slash journalist who says his rambling forefather,
theirs and mothers were toiling away in the factories of nineteen thirty's. Manchester Manchester was a very good
a very dirty smokey,
horrible environment a product really of the
Industrial Revolution outside Manchester.
It was one of the most beautiful parts of England, an area known as the peak district serve. You could imagine
factory workers in Manchester in Sheffield could
please see these inviting moors from their homes and their workplaces, and they
aren't allowed to walk on them.
It had always been this way.
Hundreds of years. An idea of the commons had existed in England. So the comments they were an integral part
of medieval life for the ordinary villager in England. That's cameo tunas,
author of this land is your land and how we lost the right to Rome and how to take it back all the way. It was
own by either a king or a Lord, but the peasants had very substantial and real rights on these common land
This feudal system, kings and lords control all the land in the meat
True enough food support itself and its tenants, the peasants live
on the land, sometimes without written leases, but with assumed rights to use it in exchange for various types of service. They could graze their cattle caught, lumber, link,
draw water. They could collect PETE, they could use it for a whole bunch of purposes.
Although that began to change in the fourteen hundreds when wool prices rose across Europe land.
There's one it in on the profits and in order to graze sheep more efficiently. They needed defence off pastures and that's what we begin to see a period of enclosure,
Landowners cleared entire villages of people making them homeless
little stone walls and hedges to launch the boundaries. Their property and accounting call works.
Sixty one. Villages were wiped out before the year fifteen hundred over the years, parliament created more and more laws to keep people from using what was once common land it all wrapped up. In the seventeen hundreds, there was nearly four thousand acts of parliament between seventeen sixty and eighteen. Seventy that's us
of England. That went from common lands to enclose private property, destroying people's livelihoods and way of life.
People were so desperate to continue hunting on this once common land that they came at night.
And covered their faces insert for extra camouflage. They became known as the blacks and in seventeen twenty three parliament passed the black act, so this blocker it created fifty offences that were punishable by by death for people who were accessing this land
eventually, the death penalty for trespassing was done away with, but the land remained closed to the vast majority of people.
In the eighteen hundreds, Britain, industrialized and people found themselves indoors all day and unable to find places for recreate.
England did not have a national parks system at this time and the trails that people could access were extremely limited. Still the people
to be in the hills they walked, where they could and trespassed where they couldn't they climbed or offences, and try to stay hidden from the game,
keepers and all over England, so called rambling club started to form the forest robbers club, the Midlands Institute of Ramblers, the Manchester Rambling Club, and there are tons of these working groups in the late eighteen, hundreds and early nineteenth hundreds forming to fight for access and walking rights.
They often times said socialist sensibilities, but at the heart there was a love for walking in a belief that it was their rights
access was no longer a matter of survival as it had been in the days when enclosure began. It was about Rick.
getting away from the polluted industrial cities which brings us back to polluted in
thrill nineteen Thirty's Manchester and a rambling club called the British Workers Sports Federation, the British Workers Sports Federation
in this group was a charismatic rambler named Benny Rossman, stocky little character, a very broad grim and great sense of humor
and a man of the highest principles.
But he was exceptionally short. It was about five foot, nothing is waste. I really am,
they got to know Benny later in life. He was a man who I very much looked up to with hope for his short. So what
lay back in nineteen. Thirty, two, a few people from Benes Group,
to take a walk in the hills near Manchester. In that
uniform mountainous areas near the city, called the peak district and were chased off by a group of game capers and when they go back to their camp Benny, Rossman and others said you know. If there was a
First I couldn't stop us, so many in the other ramblers came up with an idea: let's get a huge, grouped together and walk under this mountain called kinda scout, which was the biggest movin in this pig district. It was called the forbidden mountain and this area this was guarded by a whole bunch of gamekeepers. Are these were intimidating man, I mean they would use telescopes to identify trespassers from afar. They carry these big sticks.
Our club so that they would sometimes use on trespassers. The british Workers Sports Federation did not keep their plans to trespass a secret they,
an interview to the local paper saying we feel we can
not any longer submit to being deprived the beauties of the countryside for the convenience of the landowners wherever
we claim. We have just right to go. We shall trespass En Mass and Sunday will be
meaning of our campaign
on every one was on board. More conservative rambling groups in the area wrote at a toils denouncing their plan scene. It would hurt the cause bricks.
And had access to the countryside, one at it.
Real argued that trespassing was fine, but it should be.
Alone, or with just one or two people quietly neatly and successfully
The police were well aware of the plans to trespass kindred scout and Benny Rossman role in all of it, and
Medea the event they tried to serve him with an injunction to keep him from going the poisoner. He was coming
and he arrived by bicycle and they are expected him to come by train, so they were going to hang the train station. Ravening makes it to the trespass
about four hundred other people are there to mostly young people below
the age of twenty one, a lot of men, but some women to their wearing old
may tops multi colored sweaters in Karachi, shorts and worn work boots. This is kind of the standard hiking guard of the day and for whatever reason they carry these enormous rucksack their considered like that.
Thing to do at the time they call often will bear eyes on the heads. So is a very
hurry, motley crew. Think this man
Lee crew of hikers gathered with their brazen rucksack at the base of the mountain, and anyway,
gave a speech about taking back the rights they lost, the enclosure acts of the seventeen and eighteen hundreds
We emphasise that the trespass on Kinda scout was meant to be peaceful and with that the group set off of the matter
The other thing they did was seeing their quota
sang when they went rambling
them. They were singing sums lightly internationale in that sort of thing
and, of course, show their political leanings as well
handlers were in a good mood as they height they sang and talked there were some police.
I'm keeping an eye on things and huffing to keep up with the pace of the young workers. At one point,
group of gamekeepers approach them wagging their sticks and a small scuffle ensued. One game keeper
rolls over and hurt his ankle. That's the extent of the the scuffle
Eventually, the ramblers made their way back to the bottom. The trespass had been a success. They'd openly walked
kinda scout and no one had been able to stop them and it proved
We all would have ended right there with nothing, much game
lost on either side
police hadn't decided to make some arrests Rossman
five other ringleaders- their arrested at this time,
trespassing wasn't even and people offence, so the police came up with another charge: incitement to riotous assembly. When
rambler got off, but the rest were convicted in their given prison sentences from two to six months, but when the
The sentences were handed down by the judge,
City United, the ramblers cause, and they also this was
terrible, you know just for walking on the most people being sent to prison. Suddenly there was
huge amount of awareness and the general public about walking rights. This was a girl,
a national news item at the time and people were sympathetic and it would set in motion changes that would transform how England thinks about
property. It's been described as one of the most successful acts of civil,
disobedience ever in the history of this country
All thing is even memorialize and song
was a guy on the trespass name. Jimmy Miller, eventually be
a pretty well known folk singer in England and changed his name to you and Mccall, and you and wrote the song based on the mass trespass called the Manchester rambler. In other words, in Aachen, asked me to sing I I I I I really want you to accessing the chorus,
but I think you should get a recording really. I'm a rambler, I'm a rambler from Manchester Way. I get all my
pleasure hard Morland way. I am
Maybe your weight slave on Monday
I have my freedom on some day
just then- and I was this- and it is the anthem just for the trespasser in this
country and then it'll be played at my fear, no keepers
here, the worst phase that things that is sad were pleasant after the address
the rambling groups continue to push for expanded access. There were more trespasses in nineteen fifty one
in Britain opened its first national park. It was in the peak district, where the kindred scout trespass took place. This was no action
years of negotiations between the ramblers and the landowners and legislators in the area and pave the way. But it was
until the year, two thousand, that the ramblers got with they'd always wanted an act of parliament that opened up huge swathes of the country where people could Rome, free the countryside and rights of way, act that opened up mountains, moors
he's down. Stairs are just kind of fancy: english words for unimproved grassland, and now
We do have the right to Rome in open country, which is what those lads in nineteen
have you two were fighting for
the two thousand act opened up about seven percent of the land in England and twenty one percent in Wales on which you are free to Rome, meaning you don't even have to stay on a trail. You can truly just wander around and ten percent may not sound like a lot. But between that
and other designated trails where there are more restrictions you can now
the easily walk across England, just like gazed at it, a small finance the year
for my dad rambled across Madonna's property. She actually soon to keep me.
Well from wandering around out there. The government
it up allowing her to close off a lot of her estate but did keep some small amount of it opened. Ramblers
Madonna, wasn't the only person with concerns about ramblers? When the can
beside and rights of Way ACT passed. A lot of landowners fear the worst.
You know, everyone was worried about people sniffing, blew out in the countryside and people being moved down by tractors and wildly foreigner getting wet
This was on the newspaper that people really worried, but none of that stuff turned out to be true.
In addition to Britain, a bunch of other european countries, also have partial
Jerome Systems, meaning sir,
but not all private property is accessible to workers, but then there are countries where the right is even further expanded. Norway, Finland, Sweden, swill sweden- has this thing called all amongst rotten, which means every man right, and this means you can walk over cow pasture. This means you can walk through the woods. This means you can access virtually the whole countryside.
In the United States we have a system of national state parks, but we don't have any rights to wander through private property and in some places
you might even get shot for doing it. The idea,
opening up. Private land to the public seems almost on American, but this wasn't always the case. Yeah. This is kind of like are forgotten chapter of American Estuary Americans who were unenslaved. We had the right to Rome, free
the colonial days up until the civil war in the early days of his country, it was common practice to hunt in fish on private
land if it wasn't enclosed by a fence. Invite
the Pennsylvania delegation to the constitution even tried to get there
enshrined in the bill of rights. That's how important this was too early. Americans,
a century later in an eighteen sixty two
say entitled walking Henry David.
RO wrote that he feared that one day quote: walk
in over the surface of God's earth shall be concerned,
food to mean trespassing on some gentleman's grounds. This day may have come even sooner than throw feared.
Cannot una says our concept of private property began to change just a few years later after the civil war, partly because of the end of slavery. One perfect example of this is the is in eighteen. Sixty five, it's there.
Louisiana legislature and after the war they pass. This resolution they ignore
at the end of the war and they also do something else they,
criminalize trespassing. Now why?
they do that right after the civil war. I think I know why they did. That
because now you had a whole bunch of free and independent blackberry,
There were other reasons as well as native
Africans were forced onto reservations, lay in Greece.
So the railroads and the Homestead ACT of eighteen sixty two turn great swaths of public land to private ownership, and now
came barbed wire fences became a lot cheaper, so you could put fences up for livestock, so suddenly a whole bunch more. The country is enclosed. You have a diversified,
economy, so people are no longer relying on the land for hunting and fishing and gathering as much as they used to so when
people start chipping away at access rights. You don't have an impassioned group of proponents fighting to maintain their access rights. The kennel Guinness thinks we should be fighting for recreational access in the
country, where a lot of our public land is concentrated in places that are hard for most people to get to. For instance, Alaska has
hundred and twenty nine million acres of our public lamb, that's forty one percent of all public lamb. You look at the five states with the highest percentages of public when its Alaska, Nevada, Utah, Idaho Wyoming. All this all this land is in states
were there. Aren't that many people do not believe a right to Rome system could help connect all these disparate pieces of public land and give us a sense of ownership. I think if we bring in a system like the right to Rome, you know we're still gonna look at the land as if it some ones, but I think will also begin to look at it as if it's sort of ours
and for what it's worth my dad agrees. He says: there's something really special about being able to walk wherever you want I've. The whole concept of being able to walk respectfully across private
land was extraordinary and it was something that just doesn't exist here:
we have a lot of public land where you can walk
the? U S, but the seemed very different.
Where so many routes and trails to choose from it felt like the whole country was open to you.
These days. If you ramble across the open grasslands of England or whales, go see the remnants of enclosure,
stone walls and fences, and you also see the things meant to help you get past these barriers. The styles which are step letters to help you get over offensive
the so called kissing gates, which our visa shaped openings. That people can walk through the livestock cannot because the
chances are there to stop you anymore, you just hop over.
And continue on your way,
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After England and Wales begin implementing their countryside and rights of way Act- Scotland, ILO Scotland,
They decided to take things a step further, so in two thousand three, they pass their own land reform ACT and did a bunch of things, but, first and foremost it codified. A long tradition of
public access. Basically, if people are respectful of other people and property,
they can Rome even more freely on private land up north and
as part of a larger ethos about accessibility exemplified
by these little buildings called bodies original phenomenon that Kurt Hallstatt is here, tell us about so historically a was typically a small cottage for farm workers.
But rural depopulation led to a lot of these being abandoned to try
what he saw. They were empty started splitting the knights now so the
for some I ever encountered. The word. Bhatti was inside
in Scotland and I ate at a place for lunch, called the coffee body, which I think is not these sort of things
It is kind of like us saying that I ate it appeared to her last night. I exactly your aids, so Bobby League has this broader issues:
creation of these old YO old small buildings on farmsteads, but yea it
It now it sort of grown to have this larger, meaning of also being these places to stay. So, if you bump into Travelin, say hey, I'm saying at the body will, though, probably don't you me right? Ratko so Bobby
we found across the british Isles, but especially in the scottish islands and while publicly accessible most, are still on private property. In the.
There's just let ramblers sleep on their land and embodies that they own they do over time. A lot of these landowners had actually really embraced the tradition leaving them.
He's been locked and open for use, but it's a community effort to their volunteers,
to help take care of and manage bodies through the mountain Buffy Association, which has a scottish charity.
So I'm picturing these mostly as like small, dark, stone, gouges, angled, roofs, little chimneys, unrolling, grassy hillsides. Is that the image and going to complete, as I read about right, yeah, that's a lot of them. Look exactly like what your imagining, but not all of them there is.
So you pretty wide variety in terms of their settings and their architecture summer, island others along the beaches. So these three things like post offices or schools.
And there's one out in the coastal cliffs of sky called the look out that was actually built to be a coastguard station. There has these big one,
as these are really awesome, panoramic views- and it comes with
Binoculars wildlife, identification charts and this logbook for people who want to watch the dolphins
the wheels. So there's no reservations use ramble up and you can stay in one of these places. That's the idea, though, you have to find them first and that wasn't always easy to do for decades. It was mainly a word of mouth system and then, a few years back, the Mountain Bobby Association started bring maps of online making
easier for people to plan other trips and gets so yet nature. Yet views are free
Where do you sign up on a separate he's done? Well, you don't have to sign languages, the beauty of it, but I should warn you that bodies.
Can be pretty minimalist at times some have sleeping platforms instead,
and little libraries things like that, but they dont typically have running water,
or much insulation so
It is a really impressive system and a great way to re old buildings that are not otherwise news and it works especially well in Scotland, were really remote places can be accessed in part. Thanks to really,
permissive roaming laws. How do I know I'm staying in a designated Bobby on someone's land rather.
Just accidentally sleeping in their garden shed. You know
I'm not sure I didn't see
play about this whereas reading about them? But I wonder like if you did just accidently
had abandoned buildings. I mean that's how bad things started. Re, like I was sort of the origin of it. Is this system its unique to Scotland, not entirely the you
The US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and actually a lot of northern european countries also have their own versions. That said, in many places there even more rustic and their often owned and operated by government agencies
then set upon public glance right and we have a much more divided system here of public versus private land when it comes to private profit.
You really have to watch out for those no trespassing signs and heed their warning exactly, while in Scotland people really can't just go out and wander in the truest sense of the word and if they happen to come across a Bobby along the way,
I can just walk right in and listen to combine images of bodies as well as links to maps and other information about the Bothy network in an article that Kurt does Publix on our website,
Ninety nine p, I dot Org
ninety nine percent invisible was produces week by senior producer, Katy Mingle makes and tech production by Sharif use of music.
Sharia, the other nine ip. I ramblers our digital director, Kirkwall Stead scene
editor Delaney Hall, Joe Rosenberg. In it
Gerald vividly a breach of men, turned mass and me roman Mars, special.
Jim mingle, who gave us the idea for the story and Kate Ash.
Broke from the Ramblers association, which continues to fight for walking rights in England and Wales.
We are a product of many one point: seven Kale w in San Francisco and produced on radio row in beautiful, downtown Oakland California,
Ninety nine percent, invisible as a member of Radio Tokyo from Pierre acts, are fiercely independent, collective of the most innovative shows in all upon casting environment that radio token not offend,
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The ramble on over to our fertile land of design stories redmain IP I've got org
Transcript generated on 2020-02-14.