All about National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act in UK

Where did it all begin

The 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act didnt just create National Parks. Many special landscapes were protected under the Act and are celebrating the 60th anniversary:

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

AONBs are considered outstanding for their flora, fauna, historical or cultural associations as well as scenic views. They have the same level of legal protection for their landscapes as National Parks but they don’t have their own authorities for planning control and other services. Instead they are looked after by partnerships between local people and local authorities.

National Parks

All our National Parks are home to people who live and work in them, and the farms, villages and towns are protected along with the landscape and wildlife. They are also areas where everyone can go to enjoy the outdoors. Each National Park has an organisation that helps to look after it, a National Park Authority, with staff including planners, rangers, ecologists and education officers.

Sunset over Fulking Escarpment in the South Downs National Park. (C) Matt Gibson/LOOP IMAGES/ Getty Images

National Trails

There are over 2,500 miles of National Trails in England and Wales, and 464 miles of Scotland’s equivalent Long Distance Routes. All are long distance routes for walking, cycling and horse riding through beautiful countryside.