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Winter Hill 125

Winter Hill 125

The Winter Hill rights of way battle of 1896 was Britain’s biggest mass trespass. Over three successive weekends thousands of Bolton people marched over Winter Hill to reclaim a right of way they said had been illegally blocked by the landowner.

The main confrontation was at the gate that landowner Col Ainsworth had erected to stop people accessing the track from Coalpit Road to Winter Hill. A small party of police and gamekeepers were no match for the huge crowd of protesters, who broke down the barrier and continued on their way along the disputed stretch of road to the top of Winter Hill. They continued down to the moorland village of Belmont, before heading home to Bolton. 


On 5 September 2021, a group of Bolton people got together to celebrate the 125th anniversary of this event.

Winter Hill 125

Will yo’ come o’ Sunday mornin’
For a walk o’er Winter Hill?
Ten thousand went last Sunday
But there’s room for thousand still!
Oh there moors are rare and bonny
And the heather’s sweet and fine
And the roads across the hilltops –
Are the people’s – yours and mine!

Winter Hill Craftivism

More than a thousand people turned up for the Winter Hill 125 event.

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Text on this page taken from The Big Issue

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