The Realities of Rural Racism

An interview with our CEO and founder Maxwell A. Ayamba BEM has been published in the most recent issue of Ramblers UK magazine.

In an article entitled ‘The realities of rural racism’, Maxwell outlines his expriences as a walker of colour while rambling through British rural spaces.

He states that;

“In the British rural landscape, minoritised individuals are often made to feel out of place, either overtly or subtly. I was the first Black person appointed to the Ramblers’ board in 2005 – a landmark in the organisation’s history.

BAMER walkers attending the Kinder Mass Trespass 90th aniversary walk in April 2022.

As a trustee, I attended several Ramblers area council meetings. I met good Ramblers who I am still friends with. I also came across some whose behaviour I’d describe as ‘racial gaslighting’, making me feel out of place. This experience isn’t limited to the Ramblers, but applies to environmental organisations more broadly, and on walks. Sometimes we’re the butt of a ‘joke’: ‘Oh, there are too many of you out here today!’ or ‘We can’t escape from them – they’re invading our space.’

Walking groups and individuals from all over the country joined togeather to walk. Hundreds of ramblers took part.

Other comments implicitly suggest we don’t belong in the countryside: ‘Are you walking for a charity event?’ or ‘Where do you come from?’ When we say ‘Sheffield’, they respond: ‘Yes, but I mean which country are you from?’ ”

Kinder In Colour Mass Trespass April 2022

You can read the rest on Maxwell’s feature interview in the Summer 2024 edition of Walk magazine which has been published on the Ramblers UK website.

Ramblers UK is charity dedicated to removing barriers so everyone can enjoy walking in green spaces, and to improving Britain’s most popular and least-known walking places.