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Discover National Parks Fortnight – April 4, 2023

Discover National Parks Fortnight is observed in the U.K. for 14 days from April 4—18 each year. The celebrations highlight the importance of national parks and the role they play in conserving our environment and encouraging people to take up outdoor activities. There is no dearth of national parks in the U.K., and they are well-maintained by the government. Locals and tourists visit these national parks, not only to trek but also to take their fill of nature. The national parks are the perfect refuge from busy city life, and the greenery is a vision for sore eyes.

History of Discover National Parks Fortnight

In the early 19th Century, famous Romantic poets such as Byron, Coleridge, and Wordsworth wrote about the inspirational beauty of the untamed countryside. By the late 19th Century, James Bryce MP started a campaign for public access to the surrounding areas and a bill that permitted the freedom to roam. The bill failed, but the drive persisted.

By the early 20th Century, the demand for public access to the countryside was growing, particularly due to widespread industrialization and the increase in towns and cities caused by urbanization. By the 1930s, public pressure demanding greater access to the countryside was at its highest, and by 1932, people were participating in ‘mass trespasses.’ By 1936, groups of leisure activity enthusiasts and nature conservationists urged the government to open national parks. Finally, in 1949 the government passed an Act of Parliament to establish National Parks to conserve and enhance their natural beauty. Provisions were also made for recreational opportunities for the public.

The 1950s marked a decade of new National Parks for England and Wales, and more national parks sprung up in the rest of England and Europe. The Scottish Parliament passed the National Parks Act in 2000, which resulted in the establishment of two Scottish National Parks. They were Loch Lomond and The Trossachs in 2002 and the Cairngorms in 2003. Since then, national parks have been a source of pride for the governments and cherished places for locals and visitors to spend time enjoying nature. Today volunteers are also involved in the upkeep and maintenance of national parks.

Discover National Parks Fortnight timeline

1951
The Lake District National Park

It is one of the largest national parks in the U.K. and 2017 was assigned UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

1952
The North York Moors

Established in Yorkshire, U.K. it is one of the largest expanses of heather moorland.

1954
The Yorkshire Dales

Also home to the famous five-arch bridge, it contains extensive limestone cave systems.

2010
The South Downs

England’s newest national park is established in Hampshire.

Discover National Parks Fortnight FAQs

How many national parks are there in the U.K?

There are 15 national parks in the U.K.

What is the U.K.'s largest national park?

The Cairngorms s the largest in the UK, at 1,748 square miles.

Which is the oldest national park in the U.K.?

The Peak District was the UK’s first to be designated in 1951 and the Lake District, Snowdonia, Dartmoor, the Pembrokeshire Coast, North York Moors, Yorkshire Dales, Exmoor, Northumberland, and the Brecon Beacons all followed within the decade.

How to Observe Discover National Parks Fortnight

  1. Visit a national park

    Celebrate Discover National Parks Fortnight by visiting the national parks closest to you. Take a vacation or visit the parks on the weekends. It’s a splendid way to enjoy time with your loved ones.

  2. Donate to national parks

    Another great way to Discover National Parks Fortnight is by donating to organizations that are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of national parks. You can donate money or sign up as a volunteer.

  3. Advocate for change

    Do you feel that your area does not have enough greens and open spaces? Observe Discover National Parks Fortnight by writing to your counselor and advocating for public spaces in your locality.

5 Facts About National Parks In The U.K.

  1. Cairngorms National Park

    It is the U.K.’s biggest national park and covers a total of 1,748 square miles.

  2. New Forest National Park

    It is the U.K.’s smallest national park and it covers only 150 square miles.

  3. South Downs National Park

    It is the U.K.’s most populated national park with about 12,000 people living within it.

  4. Lake District National Park

    It is the most visited park in the U.K. and it received about 16.4 million visitors in 2014.

  5. Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

    This park is famous for its coastline which is about 186 miles long.

Why Discover National Parks Fortnight is Important

  1. They preserve the environment

    Protected areas such as national parks help in the conservation of the environment. Discover National Parks Fortnight is an important celebration that advocates for more green spaces.

  2. It encourages outdoor activities

    Discover National Parks Fortnight also encourages outdoor activities. People go there to hike, camp, and pursue other outdoor activities. National parks are crucial for getting more people involved in physical exercise.

  3. They preserve wildlife

    National parks are not just about trees and forests. These trees are homes to countless birds and animals too. In a way, Discover National Parks Fortnight also raises awareness of wildlife conservation.

Discover National Parks Fortnight dates

YearDateDay
2023April 4Tuesday
2024April 4Thursday
2025April 4Friday
2026April 4Saturday
2027April 4Sunday

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