Bowden Bridge Car Park (or the absurdity of high car parking prices)

Published 22 October 2017

Bowden Bridge car park

Bowden Bridge car park - the former quarry where the Kinder Trespass set forth from

At 165 Kinder Road (pronounced Kind-er Road if you believe Google Maps’s satnav feature) in Hayfield is Bowden Bridge Quarry. It’s a quarry with history for in 1932 it was where the Kinder Tresspass set out from. There’s a plaque there and everything.

This moment of history is marked by a plaque high up on the rocks, although few people come to see it. Instead they come to quarry for more practical reasons for it’s now a car park.

Parking here gives you a good starting point for a trek up to Kinder Scout, and the area’s other landmark hills. If you live in Greater Manchester and want to do a slither of the Pennine Way, there are worse places to set off from. And a lot of people do just that. We recently arrived for a Sunday morning family jaunt (sadly not up to the big KS) and duly pulled into the car park.

And quickly pulled out.

Not because the car park was full. Far from it. It was pretty empty at the time. I pulled out for the price.

I’m not anti paying for parking. I will pay for parking. Struggling to find a spot on the roadside is too much hassle. It often takes ages, and you generally have to parallel park. And oh boy, do I dislike parallel parking. Also parking on the road means you reduce the space for people driving.

But a £3.50 fee for the two hours we’d be there? That’s bonkers territory.

Plaque celebrating the place where the Kinder Trespass set off from

The Mass Trespass Woz Here

And I didn’t have that much change on me. I hadn’t expected to need that much money. And naturally cards and notes were not accepted. Because why would you want to offer people the ability to pay by card when they’re at a remote car park near no shops or facilities where you might be able to get some

[1].

So I pulled out of the car park. And noted then why the car park was empty. For Kinder Road’s quite long and there’s a lot of places you can park up quite legally for absolutely no cost. And that’s what everyone does.

By the time we got back for our two hours walk, the road was absolutely rammed with parked cars. The car park was still half empty.

The car park’s operated by the Peak District National Park Authority, and clearly in an attempt to increase their cashflow, they’d priced themselves out of the market. All they’d done was make Kinder Road hard to drive down due to the copious amount of parked vehicles.

Still, this does have one happy side effect. If you want to pay homage to those who set off on the Kinder Tresspass, and who fought for your right to roam the nearby hills, at least you can do it in peace.

[1] – yes I know there’s a shop at the nearby campsite. But it was too early for it to be open. And certainly too early to buy an ice-cream in order to get the right change.

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