New podcast episode: In Conversation With Guy Shrubsole & Nick Hayes
Have recent events made you double down on your appreciation of our coastlines and the waves that break on them?
More specifically your right to access them?
For the latest episode of the podcast we caught up with environmentalists and land justice campaigners Guy Shrubsole and Nick Hayes on their campaign to promote Right to Roam.
The topic was covered WL print issue 256 in the feature How A Group of Mancunian Factory Workers Profoundly Shaped The British Surf Experience.
Of particular interest to surfers is the stark contrast between Scotland and England, with many of Scotland’s best waves only being accessible because of its right to roam laws giving the people access to private land.
Nick: “It’s interesting talking to a surf community about right to roam because one of the arguments for it, that’s being going on for hundreds of years in England since it was effectively taken away from us, has been about the injustice of having common land removed and privatised.”
“But no one’s hit upon the aspect that really resonates with lots of people, and the surf community at least in popular culture probably represent this, which is the spiritual aspect of it all. And it might be easy for popular culture to have a go at surfers for tie dye and pot smoking but that really is just the authoritarian response to what has historically been called paganism… the link between physicality and spirituality.”
Guy: “Why shouldn’t everyone be allowed a night under the stars?“
“I can understand why people wouldn’t want you rocking up in their back yard… but that’s not what we’re talking about. It’s about people who want to live a different sort of outdoor life, and yet in the UK we’re having a debate about criminalising trespass, protest and traveller camps… all of that would be instantly criminalised.“
“People have been living a life that is more nomadic for hundreds if not thousands of years and in that time, footpaths have been essentially created through trespass… which the government want to make a crime against the state. For stepping off a footpath, for camping out.”
While surfers and other coast users generally benefit from access to the intertidal zone in most of Britain, what about rights to free camping, wild swimming and broader access to the Natural Health System – the great outdoors – most of which tends to be walled off and inaccessible in England and Wales (Scotland introduced R2R in 2003.)
With government plans afoot to change trespass from civil law to a criminal offence, Nick and Guy want you to get involved to protect rights to access our open spaces.
Cover image: Bosko / Quiksilver
Running Time: 49m20s
Guy & Nick’s relationships with wave riding
Surfers as a subculture
The current status quo & SW Coast Path
The 11th Duke of Beaufort
Scotland vs England
The Natural Health Service
Enclosure & abolition
Free camping, nomads & New Age Travellers
Romani ‘gypsies’ & Henri VIII
Guy’s book ‘Who owns England?’
The National Trust
Nick’s book ‘The Book of Trespass’
How to get involved
Get involved: petition.parliament.uk/petitions/300139
Extra special thanks to: