More than a 100 years of campaigning and legislation have led to the freedom to roam on wild land. Here are the key milestones.
1600s – 1860s A series of parliamentary Inclosure Acts “fenced off” half of England and Wales’s countryside. 1793 saw the first on these enclosures in Flintshire and Mongomeryshire.
1810 – Wordsworth describes the Lake District as a “sort of national property, in which every man has a right and interest who has an eye and heart to enjoy”
1865 – Establishment of the Commons Preservation Society then to merge with the Footpath Preservation Society in 1899 to become the Open Spaces Society (arguably Britain’s oldest conservation charity). Hayfield and Kinder Scout Ancient Footpaths Association (1876), the Manchester YMCA Rambling Club (1895) and the Yorkshire Rambling Club
1872 – The world’s first national parks established at Yellowstone in the USA. Greatly promoted by John Muir (Scots-born founder of the John Muir Trust 1883 and one of the first modern conservation movements) and first President of the Sierra club (1892). The club was one of the first large-scale environmental preservation organizations in the world and set a precedent for the creation of many of the world’s National Parks.
1876 – Hayfield and Kinder Scout Ancient Footpaths Association is formed. The “right to roam” movement has begun.
1884 – The First attempt to introduce an Access to the Mountains Bill fails in 1908 and 1926.
Ramblers conflict with landowners as they demand access to the hills. The Local Government Act is amended to include some provisions for Right of Way.
1898 – Foundation of the Climbers Club was in Pen Y Gwryd.
1899 – The UK Gamekeepers Association is formed.
1895 – The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest and Natural beauty established.
Their first donated property in the UK was Dinas Oleu (Citadel of Light) a 10 minute walk above Barmouth in Meirionnydd and was donated by a local wealthy landowner and philanthropist Fanny Talbot who described this at the time.
“I have long wanted to secure for the public forever the enjoyment of Dinas Oleu, but wish to put it to the custody of some society that will never vulgarize it, or prevent wild nature from having its way…and it appears to me that your association has been born in the nick of time.”
—Mrs Fanny Talbot
1907 – Forerunners of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is formed.
1912 – Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves is founded and identifies places in need of protection with the aim of transferring them to the National Trust.
1919 – The Forestry Commission is created to restore the country’s woodlands: 400,000 acres were felled during World War 1.
The Outdoor movement booms with thousands of working class people escaping the grime of the cities in search of clean, country air.
1925 – The Law of Property Act gives the public the right of access “for air and exercise” to all commons in urban areas in England and Wales.
1926 – Council for the Protection of Rural England is formed.
1927 – Sheffield Clarion Ramblers Winnat’s mass trespass takes place.
1928 – The Council for the Preservation of Rural Wales was established as a charity for the protection and enhancement of the country’s landscapes and environment. Now called the Council for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW).
1929 – Ramsey McDonald sets up an enquiry to investigate whether National Parks would be a good idea.
1931 – The Addison Report recommends there should be a National Parks Authority to select the most appropriate areas.
1930s – There are proposals to make Dovedale the first UK National Park. Demands for access and cheap and heathy exercise were increasing resulting in protests.
1931 – 1932 A change in Government and a severe financial crisis mean that Addison’s recommendations for National Parks are put on hold.
1932 – Sunday 24th April saw 400 ramblers gathered at Bowden bridge quarry – Hayfield to trespass Kinder Scout. Protesters are met by gamekeepers and scuffles break out. Arrests were made and five men are imprisoned.
The Rights of Way Act is passed by Parliament.
1935 – On 1 January 1935, the Ramblers Association was officially created by amalgamating many local clubs with the first Ramblers Association office established in Liverpool in 1938.
1936 – First meeting held of the Standing Committee on National Parks.
1938 – The Dower Committee publishes `The Case for National Parks in Great Britain`.
1939 – After 55 years the Access to the Mountains Act finally succeeds.
1942 – The Scott Report accepts the need for national parks and looks at problems facing the countryside.
1944 – The foundation of the British Mountaineering Council (BMC).
1945 – The Dower Report suggests how national parks could work in England and Wales. The new Labour government sets up the Committee on National Parks, chaired by Sir Arthur Hobhouse.
1947 – The Hobhouse Report recommended the establishment of twelve National Parks in the UK with three in Wales. It also recommended the establishment of many of the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty which prevail today. The original name put forward for Snowdonia was the `North Wales National Park` but was changed before its inception in 1951 to what it is today to Eryri or Snowdonia. The area first denoted was originally larger and encompassed the Llyn Vyrnwy area but was later reduced. Interestingly Clough Williams-Ellis the architect and founder of the Italianate village in Port Meirion was a member of this committee. The criteria for designation for inclusion was for outstanding scenic beauty. Snowdonia excluded the post industrial areas and areas of large urban development.
The group recommended three areas in Wales as National Parks – Snowdonia (originally known as North Wales within the report), Brecon Beacons and the Pembrokeshire Coast.
The Town & Countryside Act establishes a system for land–use planning which includes national parks and is the basis for much of the contemporary planning system we have today.
1948 – The Pennine Way route is decided. At 268 miles is one of the longest National Trails in Britain. This now extends from Edale in the Peak District to Yetholm on the Scottish borders. This is not fully opened until 1968.
1949 – The Government passes the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act and establishing the Countryside Commission, the Nature Conservancy Council and ten national parks including those in Wales.
1950 – A Landscape Area Special Development Order brings the design and material of farm building in the Peak District, Lake District and Snowdonia under some planning control.
1951 – Lake District, Snowdonia and Dartmoor National Parks are designated. Snowdonia covering an area of 837 square miles covering areas mostly in the old counties of Meirionnydd, Caernarfonshire and a small area of Denbighshire. A Joint Advisory Committee was formed and It`s first Chair was Cllr Charles Morris from Bala.
1952 – Pembrokeshire Coast and North York Moors are established.
1952/53 – This winter saw the Everest team practice honing their skills on Snowdon prior to conquering the highest mountain in the world using the Pen Y Gwryd Hotel as their base.
1953 – Peak District National Park signs it first access agreements under the legislation
1954 – Cwm Idwal becomes the first National Nature Reserve in Wales
1955 – Snowdonia’s first Guide book was commissioned by the National Park’s Committee.
1956 – Northumberland National Park is designated. Snowdonia opens its first car parks in Blwch Y Groes, Tal y Llyn, Cwm Nantcol and Cwm Bychan.
1957 – Brecon Beacons National Park is designated.
1956–58 – The National Park considers planning proposals for Tryweryn dam and Trawsfynydd Power Station. The first Tourist Information Centre is opened in Llanrwst.
1959 – First car park view point opened in Nant Gwynant and the Tourist Information centre in Dolgellau.
1960 – First National Parks Conference takes place in the Peak District.
1961 – Snowdonia appoints its first Warden for Meirionnydd – Gwilym Owen – the advert called for “a man of leadership and initiative, with a knowledge of Snowdonia and its people, a high standard of physical fitness and a willingness to carry out a wide variety of duties”.
The annual National Parks Conference was held in Harlech
An application to re develop the old railway line between Porthmadog and Caernarfon was refused on the grounds of intrusion in a quiet place and that it would preclude its use as a potential walking path. This notion was first suggested within the Hobhouse report in 1947.
1962 – Snowdon designated as a Natural Nature Reserve.
1964 – Llyn Tegid purchased for £10,750 by Meirionnydd Council from Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food bringing it under the control of the National Park. The Tourist Information Centre opens in Bala.
1965 – Snowdonia appoints its first Information Officer
1966 – New Tourist Information Centres opened in Llanberis and Blaenau Ffestiniog.
1967 – The Snowdonia National Park Society was formed with Esme Kirby as its Chair.
1968 – The Countryside Act is passed imposing a duty on every Minister, government department and public body to have “due regard for conserving the natural beauty and amenity of the countryside”.
The Countryside Commission was formed and a Welsh Committee was created to advise it.
1969 – Plas Tan Y Bwlch and 106 acres of gardens and woodland were purchased for £30,000 (with an 80% grant from the Countryside Commission). The old railway line along Morfa Mawddach was purchased as a footpath which has developed into the popular 10 mile Mawddach Trail.
1971 – Snowdonia National Park opens it Warden Centre building and boathouse at the eastern end of Llyn tegid.
1972 – The Local Government Act establishes National Park Authorities to administer each park. Forward planning documents must be produced. Aberdyfi Tourist Information Centre opened.
1974 – The Sanford Committee recommends that national parks should have larger budgets and more staff. Following local government reorganisation this was Snowdonia`s first year as a department of Gwynedd County Council.
1975 – Plas Tan Y Bwlch opened as the National Parks Study Centre. First report commissioned about Snowdon and that a grant should be requested from the Countryside Commission for the repair of footpaths to restore the landscape damage due to erosion.
1976 – Snowdon Sherpa bus scheme launched to solve parking problems around the massif.
1978 – Tourist Information Points were set up in 10 villages in shops and post offices in the National Park.
1979 – The first five year program to restore footpaths on Snowdon begins under the Snowdon Management Scheme.
1981 – Wildlife and Countryside Act is passed. The first comprehensive protection of listed species and habitats.
1982 – Bicycles allowed on Mawddach Trail for one year as a pilot. Access agreements were agreed on land on Snowdon under the provisions of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act. Linear access arrangements linking existing access rights on Aran Benllyn and Aran Fawddwy are also agreed.
1983 – Snowdonia National park acquires the summit building from the Snowdon Mountain Railway to enable major repairs to be carried out with funding from the Countryside Commission, the Welsh development Agency and Wales Tourism Board. This was then leased back to the Snowdon Mountain Railway Company.
The John Muir Trust was created. This is a UK organisation (based in Scotland) and named after the early environmentalist John Muir. the Trust runs an environmental award scheme, manages several estates, mainly in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland and campaigns for a better protection of wild land.
1986 – Land donated for a parking area and toilets in Dol Idris – Tal Y Llyn by Mr Ivor Idris.
1987 – European Directive requires that Environmental Impact Assessments be made for major projects that affect the environment. The National Park Committee allocated £10,000 to the Woodland Trust to purchase the broad leaf woodland at Coed Felin Y Rhyd, Maentwrog.
1989 – The Broads is designated as the eleventh UK national parks. Coed Bryn Brethynau in Capel Curig is purchased by the National Park.
1990 – The Rights of Way Act is established by a Private Members Bill.
1991 – Llyn Tegid designated as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar convention and this year was Snowdonia’s fortieth anniversary.
1992 – Snowdonia began its Rights of Way Survey work – undertaken by the Warden Service.
1993 – Snowdonia formally twinned with Triglav National park in Slovenia.
1995 – The Environment Agency is established under the Environment Act 1995. The Act added new dimensions to the responsibilities of National Parks in Wales and England by adding the protection and enhancement of the areas wildlife and culture and a duty to foster the economic and social well-being of the communities in the park.
1996 – Snowdonia becomes a free standing Local Authority and Planning Authority in its own right following the Local Government Act.
1998 – The Uplands Footpaths Partnership (a partnership between Snowdonia National Park, the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) and the National Trust) is formed to combat erosion on the more popular routes in the uplands including those badly eroded on Snowdon, the Ogwen valley and Cadair Idris – this was jointly funded by the partners and the European Regional development Fund and later the European Objective One scheme funding.
1999 – Peak District National Park added Tissington and High Peak as dedicated Public Bridleways.
2000 – The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CRoW Act) is passed which introduces the right of access on mountains, moors, heaths or downs. The National Park launched the Northern Snowdonia Initiative to take forward a sustainable transport scheme to improve public transport and reduce traffic in the north of the Park.
2002 – Under the CRoW Act 2000 Snowdonia appoints its first northern and southern Local Access Forum members with one for the north area of the National park and one for the south run jointly with Gwynedd Council. 70th Anniversary of the Kinder Scout trespass.
2006 – The National Environment and Rural Communities Act is passed.
2009 – Snowdonia new summit building – renamed as Hafod Eryri is officially opened. The Marine and Coastal Access Act is passed.
2012 – Snowdonia initiates controlled access to water arrangements between all parties from Ysbyty Ifan to Rhydlanfair Bridge on the upper Conwy river including access points and an egress point based on adequate water level markers system.
2013 – The National Park and Local Access Forums along with Brecon Beacons and Pembrokshire Coast National Parks respond the Welsh Governments Access & Outdoor Recreation Green Paper
2014 – The National Park opens the new multi users route `Lon Gwyrfai` from Rhyd to Beddgelert as part of the Snowdon Circular. Work still continues on other sections.
2015 – The Welsh Government launches its Well Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. Bala area Wardens begin to remove stiles and replace with gates and kissing gates on a rolling programme of access improvements in the area based on the `least restrictive option` philosophy.
The Snowdon Partnership stakeholder engagement launched.
2016 – Welsh Government launches its Taking Wales Forward Welsh Government’s Well-being Objectives (2016)
2017 – The Authority and Local Access Forums respond the Welsh Governments consultation “Taking Forward Wales’ Sustainable Management of Natural Resources paper.