The Ramblers, formally known as The Ramblers' Association, is the largest walkers' rights organisation in Great Britain, and aims to represent the interests of walkers (or ramblers). It is a Charitable organization registered in England and Wales and in Scotland.
In 1931, the National Council of Ramblers' Federations was formed because walkers felt that a national body to represent their interests was needed. On 24 April 1932, the Communist-inspired British Workers' Sports Federation, frustrated at the lack of resolve of the newly formed Ramblers, staged a mass trespass of Kinder Scout, the highest point in the Peak District. During the mass trespass, the protesters present scuffled with the Duke of Devonshire's gamekeepers and five ramblers were arrested. The National Council of Ramblers' Federations did not endorse the tactics of the trespassers.This mass trespass is often seen as the pivotal turning point in the history of the Ramblers. In 1934 the Council decided to change its name, leading to the official founding of the Ramblers' Association on 1 January 1935. On 21 and 22 April 2007, the Ramblers celebrated the 75th anniversary of the illegal trespass of Kinder Scout and the imprisonment of those who participated.
On 28 March 1946 the Ramblers' Association incorporated Ramblers' Association Services Limited, this was intended to operate as the commercial wing of the Ramblers' Association; specifically, to manage sales, to provide office services, establish guest houses and to organise walking tours for members at home and abroad. Ramblers' Association Services Ltd eventually became a separate entity from the Ramblers' Association, eventually becoming RWH Travel Ltd. From 1948 onwards its secretary was Tom Stephenson, who was a leading campaigner for open-country access and for the first British long-distance footpath, the Pennine Way.
Labour politician Hugh Dalton, an avid outdoorsman, served a term as president of the Ramblers Association. Dalton was an environmentalist before the term came into fashion. As Chancellor in 1946 he started the National Land Fund to resource national parks, and in 1951 as Minister of Town and Country Planning he approved the Pennine Way, which involved the creation of seventy additional miles of rights of way.
The Ramblers' Association and its members long felt that there was a need for a change of image following on from the last change in 1987. London-based brand agency Spencer du Bois, which specialises in not-for-profit organisations, was commissioned to create and effect the rebranding.
It surveyed all members and received almost 6,000 responses, which revealed that there was a shift taking place within the membership, from elderly, retired, middle class and predominantly white members, walking in the countryside, towards a younger, more ethnically diverse membership for whom walking was an increasingly urban activity. The rebranding targeted this new and evolving demographic.
In 2009, the Ramblers' Association was rebranded as the "Ramblers"; a new logo emerged incorporating a younger, more all-inclusive urban image.
- Official website
- London Strollers
- Walk: the Magazine of the Ramblers
- Ramblers re-branding, CorpComms magazine