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

The South Downs National Park
The South Downs National Park

It’s currently National Parks Week, an annual celebration of everything unique and wonderful about Britain’s breathing spaces including the South Downs National Park.

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.

The South Downs,‘England’s chalk desert in the sky’ is the newest National Park, created in 2010 after a 60 year campaign. It has Bronze Age barrows, Iron Age hill forts, Saxon and Norman churches and the largest number of conservation areas (165) of any UK National Park.

So why not get out and explore the South Downs Park this weekend? Share your photos of your day with us via our Facebook page or Twitter.

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% of its land area.

In Wales, the National Parks cover 20% 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 nationalparks.gov.uk.

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