On Saturday I joined a hardy bunch to recognise and celebrate the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act, the act that essentially allowed the setting up of the Peak National Park two years later
The Spirit of Kinder supported by the National Trust, Peak Park, Ramblers and the BMC was due to be held in Winnats Pass, where many rallies pre-Kinder Trespass occurred. The event was not well advertised… i happened to pick up a leaflet, plus a friend works for the NT. This poor promotion was a blessing in the end as the church could not have held many people… but if the weather had been good, several hundred people packing out Winnats pass would have sent quite a message about the value of sustainable access to our Countryside.
After a few pictures were taken we returned to the Peveril Conference Centre/church for some speeches and a cuppa. Speeches were by Lord Blunkett, the CEO of the National Trust Hillary McGrady, Lynn Robinson the president of the BMC and High Peak MP Ruth George. Realistically though the most noteworthy and entertaining talk was by Pulp Frontman Jarvis Cocker.
Jarvis talked about his love of the Peak District and that despite living in Sheffield it was never somewhere he and his family felt they belonged until a school trip which non of his friends were looking forward to. The Countryside is now somewhere he goes for calm and inspiration. He is currently setting up and art an discovery trail that will start and end at Edale train station as part of these 70 year celebrations.
All speakers were keen to highlight that a lot has been achieved but that there is much to do. What remains is mostly around sustainable access and use of the national park, encouraging all people to come and visit but having as little of an impact as is practicable. Issues around erosion, re-wilding (including grouse moors), off roading and litter were all raised
The event came to a close with a number of ‘Elders’ of Kinder’ (including BMC Access stalwart Henry Folkard) passing the mantle onto a group of young NT volunteers in the form of swapping badges. Yes it was a bit twee but you cant fault the sentiment, Conservation now needs to be thought of in 50+year plans so the young generation are going to be needed to keep the NP, the NT and the governments feet to the fires.