Johnny Campbell releases single to celebrate the Winter Hill Trespass

Johnny Campbell

5th September 2021 will be the 125th anniversary of the Winter Hill Trespass, a little-known event in which 10,000 working folk descended (or ascended) onto Winter Hill near Bolton, Lancashire to dispute a centuries old right of way which had been closed by a local landowner. The 10,000 strong crowd of ramblers & working folk defied local gamekeepers, landowners and police to liberate this hill and the Winter Hill Trespass is now acknowledged to be the largest ever rights of way dispute in Britain. It was said that the thirst of the weary ramblers after the march could not be quenched in the local hostelries. Quite a scene.

To coincide with the 125th anniversary of Winter Hill Trespass, West Yorkshire based Folk musician Johnny Campbell delves deep into forgotten Northern English working class and people’s history to celebrate the anniversary of the trespass with a digital single release and a two track 7” vinyl release. Something which has gained momentum with the backing of Lancastrian actress Maxine Peake and Boltonian BBC 6 Music presenter and author Stuart Maconie and has gained national and local press with BBC North West, The Guardian and Country Walking Magazine.

Campbell follows in the footsteps of social comment Folk writers like Ewan MacColl and Dick Gaughan whilst taking influence from more contemporary sources: ”I’d written the bones of this song some time ago whilst researching the more known Kinder Trespass which was immortalised for posterity by Ewan MacColl’s song ‘The Manchester Rambler’. Ewan’s work has been a big influence for me and I wanted to create a Northern English music hall style song that fit into the tradition. A modern day ‘Manchester Rambler‘ if you will…” The issue of land access is still a potent and pertinent one, especially in England as only 8% of land in England is open access and mass trespasses are being organised to take back our land.

Accompanying the track ‘Winter Hill Trespass’ is B-Side ‘The Ghost Of Alfred Wainwright’, written about acclaimed Northern English author famed for his pictorial guides of the Lake District, in which Campbell dreamed he met Wainwright at his final resting place, on Haystacks, a fell in the Lake District.

The ‘Winter Hill Trespass’ single was funded through Kickstarter, a crowdfunding platform and hit well over its £1200 target, reaching over twice that amount. The digital single will be released on 16th August with a pre-order on the 16th and the physical release will be available in September.

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