The UK marks the 80th anniversary of the first popular direct action that led to public access to areas of outstanding beauty (or Right to Roam), which generally belonged to the UK's ruling elite.
According to the Ramblers Association:
"In 1884 James Bryce MP introduced the first bill for freedom to roam. The bill was reintroduced every year until 1914 and failed each time. In 1932 six people were sent to jail for leading a mass trespass on Kinder Scout in the Peak District, causing a national outcry and bringing the campaign for freedom to roam further into the public eye.
In 1936 Arthur Creech-Jones introduced a private members bill which became the Access to Mountains Act 1939, compromising walkers' rights and making trespass a criminal offence in certain circumstances. It was bitterly opposed by the Ramblers and was later repealed.
In 1947 the Hobhouse Committee recommended legislation for public access to open countryside. This led to the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 under which open country was defined as mountain, moor, heath, down, cliff and foreshore. Local authorities were required to survey open countryside, assess the level of access provided and to secure further access by means of agreements, orders or by purchasing the land. In practice the legislation has had little effect.
In 1968 the Countryside Act sought to widen the scope of the 1949 Act by widening the definition of open country to include woodland and riverside. However this widening of the definition just showed that permissive access was not the way forward as no new access agreements for such land have ever been made under the 1968 Act."