The UK has fifteen National Parks and these protected areas are undoubtedly the National jewels in our countryside, providing immeasurable pleasure for the millions who visit them every year. Together they provide a stunning variety of landscapes with beautiful areas of mountains, meadows, moorlands, woods and wetlands. They are an essential ingredient of society, allowing us to escape the pressures of modern life by providing an accessible, healthy environment where we can relax in tranquil peace and solitude or seek the thrills of invigorating adventurous activities.
Walking is the most popular activity in all the National Parks, perhaps not surprising since this is the best way to get close to nature and breathe in the beautiful scenery around you. Footpaths in the Parks are generally well maintained and, of course, there is plenty of open access land to explore. From full day hikes to short strolls, there are lots of options in all the Parks. A good guidebook can help you make the most of a visit to one of our National Parks and you can purchase a wide selection from our bookshop.Each of the National Parks is managed by its own Park Authority, which is responsible not only for tourism and visitor education, but also for balancing this with the other economic needs of the area by providing employment for residents and developing infrastructure appropriate to the landscape. They also have to consider wildlife habitats and the needs of agriculture. Managing these often conflicting objectives can be challenging but the authorities achieve this remarkably well. There is an over-arching organisation to which they all belong, which co-ordinates strategy and helps communicate ideas and best practice. This is called the Association of National Park Authorities (ANPA).
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