Who we are
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 Nature Reserves
Our most important areas of wildlife habitat and geology are protected as National Nature Reserves. Many of them are open for the public to enjoy.
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.
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.