70 years of National Park adventure

70 years of National Park adventure
70 years of National Park adventure

Each year around 100 million of us will experience the incredible beauty, tranquillity and fun to be had across the 13 National Parks of England and Wales. Now 70 years old, our National Parks are more important than ever, providing the space for adventure, space to be ourselves and to work through our problems. Space that’s so desperately needed in modern society.

This summer we are celebrating one of the special benefits these extraordinary landscapes provide. Adventure.

Canoeing in the Lake District (Campaign for National Parks)
Canoeing in the Lake District (Campaign for National Parks)

Adventure has always been at the heart of our National Parks. Throughout August, Campaign for National Parks’ #SummerofAdventure will be encouraging us all to get out and enjoy your own adventure in these special landscapes.

Adventures can be both big and small. Modest or daring. For some of us just escaping everyday life can be an adventure in itself. For others the obvious adventure to be had in our National Parks is climbing those beautiful peaks and mountains, water sports or perhaps even paragliding. We cannot take for granted the gift of having beautiful landscapes protected so people can enjoy themselves in this way.

But adventure needn’t be a daunting physical excursion. A National Park adventure can be a cultural escapade too. You can take in the views that inspired Beatrix Potter or William Wordsworth in the Lake District, visit the waterfalls that inspired Turner or sample English sparkling wines in the South Downs.

And you don’t have to be Doctor Who to have a time-travelling adventure. In Northumberland you might find yourself in the footsteps of our Roman ancestors at Hadrian’s Wall or using a virtual reality headset to step back in time at a special exhibit at the Sill National Landscapes Discovery Centre.

There are National Park adventures to be had for wildlife lovers too. The valleys of the Brecon Beacons are brilliant places to spot Red Kites. The many hides and gardens of the Broads offer ample opportunities to see rare bird life. And the coast of the North York Moors can be brilliant for a rock pooling adventure.

Opportunities for adventure, on your own or with your loved ones, has always been an important part of the National Parks and as we celebrate 70 years of the National Parks it is clear this service has never been more important in our demanding modern lives.

But as the body originally set up to establish the National Parks back in the 1930s and 1940s Campaign for National Parks is all too aware that for many these adventures are off limits and for others they don’t know how to take on their own adventure safely and sustainably.

That’s why throughout this month we will not only be showing the adventures to be had but also throwing a light onto some of these issues. As we await the results of the Glover review of England’s designated landscapes, and as we celebrate the 70th anniversary it is vital we have these frank conversations.

Campaign for National Parks is committed to making National Park adventures big or small accessible for everyone to enjoy – as we know everyone, no matter who you are, your ability or your background, can benefit. That’s why we need you. We need to know the obstacles stopping you getting outside and having your own adventure. We need to know the kind of activities that would tempt you out and we need to know how to do this in the most sustainable way. Your response to our #SummerofAdventure survey could help us make a big difference at this important time for National Parks.

Since 1936 Campaign for National Parks has been an authoritative voice on your favourite landscapes. In this historic year we are needed more than ever to ensure the National Parks can deliver benefits for everyone in the face of extreme challenges.  

By Andrew Hall, Communications and Campaigns Officer for Campaign for National Parks