Sheffield Walking Festival salutes historic trespass

Sheffield Walking Festival salutes historic trespass

07 September 2016

Sheffield is gearing up to be a focal point for walkers from Saturday, as the inaugural Sheffield Walking Festival is set to take place 10 -18 September 2016.

The nine day celebration will see a host of enjoyable walks taking place across the length and breadth of the city.  

While some of the 28 events on offer are now booked up, there are still plenty free-to-attend walks available, but if you only take part in one walk during the festival, organisers urge you to join them for one of particular local significance…

On Sunday 18 September, Sheffield Walking Festival will retrace the historic footsteps of the Abbey Brook Mass Trespass, exactly 84 years to the day, when back in 1932 a group of 200 dedicated ramblers gathered to walk over the moors in the North West of Sheffield.

Overshadowed by the more famous Kinder Mass Trespass which occurred five months earlier, Abbey Brook was a landmark demonstration in response to the imprisonment of five walkers and became a real "battle" between ramblers and game keepers.

Little would the early campaigners involved in the event have realised that they were playing a significant part in enabling access to areas of the country where people can now walk freely today.

Taking place on what is regarded by many to be the best moorland path in Sheffield, this route went on to become a public right of way because of the research and actions of ramblers and created a blueprint for similar rights of way to be introduced across the country.

Chris Prescott, one of the walking festival organisers and leader of the Abbey Brook walk, said:

“We want to celebrate and acknowledge the achievements of those who pioneered our right to access the open countryside around Sheffield, something that is easily taken for granted yet offers so much to the quality of life here in the city.

We welcome anyone interested to join us in this anniversary walk, as we’ll be telling the stories behind that historic day in 1932 along a local route of great natural beauty. We hope it will be a fitting finale to this year’s festival”.

In the 84 years since Abbey Brook took place, Sheffield’s prolific walking community has maintained a strong presence to this day, as the city boasts more walking clubs than anywhere else in the UK.

Deputy Leader & Cabinet Member for Business and Economy, Councillor Leigh Bramall said:

“Sheffield Walking Festival itself is testament to the strength of the city’s passionate walking community.

“All the walks are led by experienced and knowledgeable guides, many of who are local historians and authors, who have kindly donated their time in order to make the walks free to attend and as a result they have created a fantastic opportunity to truly showcase The Outdoor City.”

Organised by Sheffield Walking Forum and supported by The Outdoor City, the festival brings together many of the city’s clubs along with a host of Sheffield’s outdoor communities and national organisations such as The Wildlife Trust, Peak National Park Authority, RSPB, Ramblers Association and Walkers are Welcome.

Incorporating a variety of themes and landscapes, the festival celebrates all sides of the city, from industrial heritage and hidden outdoor art, to a family themed walk including a visit to a city farm, while several moorland walks will showcase the dramatic city borders that overlap with the Peak District National Park.

To book onto the Abbey Brook Mass Trespass Walk or any of the other walks in the Sheffield walking Festival programme please visit www.theoutdoorcity.co.uk/walk