Blue plaque to be unveiled to celebrate historic rights of way victory

The Mayor of Trafford is to unveil a blue plaque to celebrate an historic victory for rights of way campaigners in the borough.

Cllr Laurence Walsh will officially unveil the plaque at Trafford Council’s Flixton House building on Monday, November 15, 2021.

The plaque will commemorate a famous court victory by Flixton residents who successfully stopped Squire Ralph Wright from closing Bottoms Footpath in 1827.

The case marked the culmination of several years of campaigning by villagers opposed to local magistrate and land owner Mr Wright’s decision to block up footpaths across his land. In 1826, the ‘Flixton Footpath Battle’, as it was known, resulted in the formation of the ‘Manchester Society for the Preservation of Ancient Footpaths’: one of the earliest examples of a society of this type. The court case made the national press and was a watershed moment in the history of rights of way campaigners in the UK.

The plaque will be attached to Flixton House - Ralph Wright’s former residence – and will replace an earlier plaque attached to Flixton Station which was destroyed in a fire in the 1990s. It will be the first blue plaque unveiled by the Council since the beginning of the pandemic.

Radio presenter Stuart Maconie , who is the President of the Ramblers Association, will be sending a video message on the day and will mention the event in his column in Country Walking magazine.

Cllr Liz Patel, Trafford Council’s Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, said:

“The Flixton Footpath Battle was an historic victory for residents opposed to the blocking up of footpaths in the area and is quite rightly seen as a huge turning point for rights of way campaigners.

The fact this court victory happened in Trafford is of major importance to us as a Council and for that reason we are erecting a blue plaque to mark the event. We are only free to roam today because of the hard work of campaigners like those in Flixton in 1827.”

Posted on Thursday 11th November 2021