Change is in the air, spring has sprung and the trespass season has begun! We’ve got loads of local and national events planned over the coming months to make sure access stays high on the political agenda. Read on for what April has in store and the latest news on the Dartmoor wild camping appeal. April Treespass No, you didn’t read that wrong. For Earth Day 2023 (Saturday 22nd April) we’re calling on our supporters to join us in a Trespass for Trees, in collaboration with our friends at Trash Free Trails.
All over the country we’re seeing many of our beautiful mature trees and hedgerows cut down by councils, developers, landowners and cost-cutting contractors. Sadly, our trees have limited protections: some bus shelters have more rights than our ancient trees.
Many trees are lost on private land because it can happen out of sight, where there’s nobody to fight for them.
However, there is one tool in the tree-lovers arsenal: a Tree Preservation Order. These ensure that written consent is achieved from a Local Authority before any cutting or felling takes place. It can apply to notable individual trees, collections of trees, or entire woodlands depending on the circumstances. Crucially, anyone can apply to have a tree listed, regardless of who owns the land on which it’s growing.
So we’re asking people to
find, befriend and apply to protect a local tree of their choosing, on land where the public are normally prevented from having any relationship.
And, in the spirit of Trash Free Trails, take a litter picker with you as you go: leave the world more beautiful than you found it!
To get involved: Join one of our local groups or find friends and family to come with you sometime this April, just as our trees burst into flower. Find a local tree using the Woodland Trust Ancient Tree Inventory – you can learn which trees are on public and private land. Or, add a significant undocumented tree to their map. Visit and celebrate your chosen tree through picnics, music, art, poetry, meditation, prayer: whatever helps you connect. Bring your litter pickers and bin bags to clear up any trash you find (follow Trash Free Trails for ways to do this in a group.) Help protect the tree(s): find out if there is already a Tree Protection Order by contacting your local council. If there isn’t, apply for a TPO using this guide from Friends of the Earth. Without this, there is no legal protection from developers. Let us know! We believe connection leads to care. So let’s shout about it. Share your day with us using #treespass, tagging us on social media, or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org with details and pictures (so long as you’re happy for us to post about it!) For a further guide on the tools available to land justice campaigners, check out this detailed breakdown from Right to Roam’s own Jon Moses, published in The Lead: Ten Tools for Land Justice. You can see and share our video promoting the event here. Kinder Swim Trespass
To celebrate the anniversary of the Kinder Mass Trespass, Outdoor Swimming Society, Sheffield Right to Roam & Sheffield Outdoor Plungers are teaming up for another mass swim trespass.
The event will take place at Kinder Reservoir, 12 Noon on April 23rd. There will be an online webinar in advance of the event, on April 18th, featuring our very own Nick Hayes & Amy-Jane Beer. You can sign up here. The event will cover:- Common myths used by landowners and water companies e.g. permanent ‘blue algae’ signs. Why trespass is a civil and not a criminal offense – along with our panel’s favourite swim experiences that involved trespassingWhat rights swimmers in other countries have and if there any systems that could work in England and WalesHow to defuse frosty encounters with landowners You can see and share our video promoting the event here. Dartmoor Appeal This week we got the news that the Dartmoor National Park Authority have been given leave to appeal the ruling prohibiting wild camping across Dartmoor. Since the ruling, serious questions have been raised about the logic of the verdict, which hinges on a very narrow definition of what constitutes ‘open-air recreation’ and appears to ignore well-established customary freedoms on the moor.
The Dartmoor Preservation Association continue to fundraise to support the DNPA’s appeal and have already achieved half of their target amount of £100,000. If you’re in a position to contribute to the case, you can donate to the appeal here. We’ll be in touch again soon to let you know what we’ve been up to on the policy front, feedback on our recent meetings with farmers and landowners, and update on the exciting stuff we’ve got coming up over summer.
Spring blessings, Team Right to Roam
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