National Parks were set up by a 1949 Act of Parliament. This was the result of years of public demand for access to the countryside, which included the famous mass trespass of 1932, when three teams of hikers clashed with gamekeepers on Kinder Scout, in the Peak District.
A National Park aims to preserve and enhance the natural beauty of an area while providing recreational opportunities for the public and also protecting the livelihoods of the people who live there.
The land owners keep their land but the National Park Authority oversees developments to ensure that the aims are being followed.
The first National Park, the Peak District, came into being in 1951. It was rapidly followed by another 9 areas and eventually a further 5 were added, bringing the total to 15, with 10 in England, 3 in Wales and 2 in Scotland.
There are no National Parks in Northern Ireland, but in the south there are a further 6.
On Monday, my “Where?” series will be looking at National Parks, so that you can find out where they all are.
Meanwhile you may be thinking, what about Northern Ireland and the rest of Scotland? Don’t they have beautiful landscapes worth protecting? Well large areas of these benefit from protection under different designations. Join me next week to learn more.