Extinction Rebellion trespass Brocket Hall in campaign for greater public access to nature

Extinction Rebellion East Herts

Extinction Rebellion East Herts (XREH) and Extinction Rebellion North Herts trespassed onto Brocket Hall as part of the Right to Roam campaign - Credit: Extinction Rebellion East Herts

Extinction Rebellion East Herts (XREH) and Extinction Rebellion North Herts activists took part in a 'mass trespass' at Brocket Hall near Welwyn Garden City on Saturday, April 25.

The trespass took place to highlight the 'injustice of exclusive land ownership', which they believe is at the very heart of the climate and ecological crisis.

Activists chose Brocket Hall because of the land dedicated to golf courses that most local people can only access via the paths across the courses.

Extinction Rebellion East Herts

In 1932, 400 young men and women trespassed on Kinder Scout in Derbyshire in a peaceful protest against the way the general public were denied access to the UK countryside - Credit: Extinction Rebellion East Herts

XREH spokesperson John Duncan said: “Today we undertook a symbolic act of trespass at Brocket Hall to mark the 89th anniversary of the Kinder Scout mass trespass.

“We did this to highlight how much private land still remains inaccessible to the general public. The government wants to make this situation worse by criminalising trespass.

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“We believe that the public should have the right to roam, as currently exists in Scotland.”

The action was organised in support of the Right to Roam campaign to push for the open spaces of England and Wales to be opened up for public access.

Extinction Rebellion East Herts

‘Everybody Welcome’ placards were stuck over other signs - Credit: Extinction Rebellion East Herts

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John added: “Today has been a huge reminder of what we’re desperately missing in our lives – that connection with wildlife and the freedom to wander in nature.

“We’re trying to start a conversation with landowners about how the public might have a closer connection to the nature we so badly need and how this could reignite a nationwide care for the protection of our environment.

“We understand for many, the countryside is a place of work and must be respected as such and we hope that with more access and appreciation, as seen in other countries, that respect can grow.”

During the walk the activists collected litter, carried out a bird species survey and stopped at points to read poetry.

A letter was sent to the landowner, that pointed out that the public are excluded from 92 per cent of the land in England and the public have freedom to roam over just eight per cent of England, and only three per cent of rivers in England and Wales.

The letter states: “To see a registrable effect on our nation’s health, to alleviate the pressure on the NHS, we need to access nature regularly, which means we need it near to our homes… Wherever we live, whatever our income, whoever we are, the right to access nature should belong to us all.”

Brocket Hall has been contacted for a response.

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