Get out and about for #NationalParksWeek: have you visited one of our National Parks?

North York Moors.  Eric Houlder.
North York Moors. Eric Houlder.
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National Parks Week running from July 27 to August 2, is an annual celebration of everything unique and wonderful about Britain’s breathing spaces including; Northumberland and The North York Moors.

The theme for National Parks Week 2015 is Landscapes of Plenty, acknowledging that the UK’s National Parks are more than just places to play and find inspiration, they are home to productive landscapes, providing some of the best produce, products, food, and drink in the country.

In 1949, following protests and campaigns, the UK government introduced an act to protect and conserve some of the most beautiful areas of England and Wales. Within two years, the first sites were given the newly-named ‘National Park’ status.

Northumberland National Park, designated a park in 1956, and has 1.5 million visitors a year. Covering 405 square miles of virtually empty land in the North East of England, it has a total population of about 2,200. The park includes the Cheviot Hills, 31 sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs), 3 National Conservation areas and a stretch of Hadrian’s Wall, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The North York Moors, designated a park in 1952, and has 7 million visitors a year. The moors cover 554 miles of heath and moorland, as well as 26 miles of dramatic North Sea coast in England’s North East. This is Wuthering Heights territory. The National Park also protects more than 800 ancient monuments.

So why not get out and explore your park this weekend?

Facts about the National Parks in the UK

• At least 331,000 people live in the UK’s National Parks across England, Scotland and Wales.

• There are almost 4,000 ancient monuments in the UK National Parks.

• The UK National Parks contain more than 350 Conservation areas protected as ‘areas of special architectural interest’.

• England’s National Parks cover 7 per cent of its land area.

• In Wales, the National Parks cover 20 per cent of the land.

• National Parks cover 7.3 per cent of Scotland.

• 7,842 square miles are included in UK National Parks.

• The largest National Park is The Cairngorms in Scotland, covering 1,467 square miles.

• The oldest National Park, The Peak District, was founded in 1951.

• The newest National Park is The South Downs, established in April, 2009.

• Each National Park Authority is required to carry out two “statutory purposes”: to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area; and to promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the parks’ special qualities by the public.

Find events and information on all the UK National Parks at www.nationalparks.gov.uk