THESE walkers went on the march back in September, 1982 to mark the anniversary of the 1896 Winter Hill Trespass.

The picture shows hundreds of youngsters making their way down Smithills Dean Road.

In the late summer of 1896, Colonel Ainsworth, who owned the local bleachworks, decided to close a track leading to Winter Hill.

This denied the right of access to thousands of local workers to walk in the fresh air and enjoy the countryside after a week's work.

The colonel hired extra men to use force to keep walkers off his property, erecting signs saying that trespassers would be prosecuted, and built a locked gate to block the road.

MP David Crausby told the story in Parliament in 1999. He said: "Ainsworth's action caused outrage in Bolton and a protest was organised inviting the public to join a demonstration at Winter Hill on the following Sunday. The demonstrators intended to test the right of way over the moors."

A crowd of 1,000 swelled to more than 10,000 as workers flocked from their rows of terraced houses.

Bolton socialist Joe Shufflebottom told the crowd: "We have met today to say to Messrs Ainsworth and Co that we, the people of England, have the right to pass through, and we will do so."

Mr Crausby said there were scuffles at this march, although a following procession of 12,000 walked over the land to Belmont without trouble a week later.

The picture was published in the Bolton Evening News in 1982 as local schools marked the anniversary.

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