In 1896 the people of Bolton defended their right to roam. Local landowner Colonel Ainsworth tried to close a popular path up to Winter Hill by installing a gate on Coalpit Road to keep walkers out. Tens of thousands of people gathered on Winter Hill in a series of protests to keep the road accessible to the public. 


125 years later the conversation continues at a meeting of Bolton Council. This Wednesday Councillor Kevin McKeon, who represents Horwich North East, will pay tribute to the people of Bolton for defending their rights. He will also encourage his Councillor colleagues to support a walk which will take place on Sunday September 5, to commemorate the anniversary of the mass trespass of Winter Hill. Halliwell Councillor, Kate Challender, is seconding the motion. 


Cllr McKeon commented, “Covid has shown us how access to open space is crucial to public health. We have to be aware of any threats to our public rights of way and be prepared to stand up for our public spaces.” 


Professor Paul Salveson has written extensively about the history of the trespass and says he is delighted that the Council is discussing the event. 


“I am absolutely delighted that Councillors McKeon and Challender will be raising Bolton’s battle for Winter Hill at the Council meeting. It’s a fascinating part of our local history that could so easily have been forgotten. I am looking forward to our commemorative walk on Sunday, 5th September and encourage people to get involved and enjoy some of the fantastic countryside on our doorstep.”


Anyone can join the commemorative walk on Sunday 5th September. Meet from 10:00 at Halliwell Health Centre, Lindfield Drive, BL1 3RG for a 10:30 start. Sturdy footwear and outdoor clothing are advised.  

Kate and Kevin at the Winter Hill stone
Kate and Kevin at the Winter Hill stone
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