original seven National Parks of England were set up in the 1950s following an Act of Parliament in 1949. They were chosen
as extensive areas of beautiful and relatively wild country and are regarded as our most outstanding and unspoilt landscapes.
The purposes of our
National Parks are:
To conserve and enhance
the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area
To promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the Parks special qualities by the
These purposes relate to everyone
concerned with such areas but the Government provides grants for special local authorities to pursue these purposes and coordinate
work towards them. In doing so, these authorities must also seek to foster the social and economic well-being of the local
Although all run separately, the National
Parks are considered part of a family of protected areas. The Broads has similar status and plans are progressing to add the
New Forest and South Downs to the family. There are many other types of protected area in Britain, including Areas of Outstanding
Natural Beauty and National Nature Reserves, which were set up by the same Act of Parliament in 1949.
Internationally, our National Parks are
known as a Group 5 protected area. In some countries National Parks have more wilderness, more public ownership, more strict
control and have higher status. Our National Parks contain large areas of open country and semi-natural vegetation but they
are much lived in and everywhere the scenery reflects the hand of man. They are largely privately owned and there are few
rules and regulations to distinguish them from other parts of our countryside. They are known as National Parks not because
they are nationally owned but because they are valued by the nation as recreation areas.
Of Outstanding Natural Beauty*