Children paddling in the waves at Minehead Beach, Exmoor National Park

park dictionary

Here you will find definitions and links for terms, people and words that are often mentioned in the context of National Parks. Have we forgotten something? Let us know, we will try and include it in the future. Email :


S T U V W X Y Z       Legislation (Acts)   



The UK Association of National Park Authorities is the association of the fourteen National Park Authority Chairmen (Convenors in Scotland). ANPA also looks after the National Parks Portal, this website.

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

AONBs are protected areas in the UK similar to National Parks. There are 49 AONBs, spread over England, Northern Ireland and Wales (none in Scotland)

More about protected areas on this website

More about AONBs



Biodiversity is simply the variety of life. Biodiversity is all living things all around us

Learning Teaching Scotland about Climate Change and Biodiversity

Brecon Beacon National Park on Biodiversity

Natural History Museum on Biodiversity

Find species and data for wildlife sites across the UK at the NBN Gateway

Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP)

A BAP is a programme to protect threatened species and habitats. Part of a Biodiversity Action Plan is to monitor species and habitats and find out how many there are, where they are and how threatened they are. Then a plan is formed to protect those species and habitats. The UK government networks with recording centres across the UK to do this work .On a national level we have the UK BAPs, there are also the LBAPs (Local Biodiversity Action plan) which are looked after by local Authorities. National Parks have NPBAPs (National Park Biodiversity Action Plans) to look after the threatened species within National Park boundaries.

The UK Biodiversity Action Plan Website

About Local Biodiversity Action Plans

The international Red List of Threatened Species by IUCN

Biosphere Reserve

Biosphere Reserves are an international conservation designation given by UNESCO. Currently there are 9 Biosphere Reserves in the UK.

More about Biosphere Reserves from the UNESCO

Wikipedia entry on Biosphere Reserves

Biosphere Reserves on this website



(dictionary) A group of people given official authority to perform a task (one of several meanings)

Climate Change

The UK government says: "Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing the planet – and everyone can do something about" Read more here:

UK Government on "Understanding Climate Change"

The Welsh Assembly on Climate Change

The Scottish Government on Climate Change

The Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPPC)


to conserve – (dictionary): To protect from loss or harm

Cultural Heritage

Cultural Heritage is a term that can have several meanings. "Cultural heritage is based on aspects of our past that we want to keep, appreciate and pass on to future generations." says the government of Queensland .

The term "Cultural Heritage" explained by UNESCO

Wikipedia on Cultural Heritage

Conservation Area

A Conservation Areas is a place of "special architectural or historic interest", that is worth protecting or enhancing. Many settlements in National Parks are Conservation Areas, because of their traditional character and beautiful architecture. Protecting our cultural and natural heritage is on the aims and purposes of National Parks.

More about Conservation Areas from English Heritage

Wikipedia entry on Conservation Area

More about Conservation Areas on this website

Countryside Code

The Countryside Code for England and Wales or Scottish Outdoor Access Code in Scotland are easy and simple ways to help everyone respect, protect and enjoy the countryside by behaving responsibly!

The Countryside Code for England

The Countryside Code for Wales

The Scottish Outdoor Access Code

Behave responsibly - Be a sustainable Tourist



to designate - (dictionary) To indicate or specify; point out, to give a name or title, to select and set aside for a duty or a purpose.


diverse - (dictionary) Having variety, different in kind

Diversification - diversified farming

"Farm diversification is a way of branching out from traditional farming activities and taking on a new income-generating enterprise. "read more on ruralni. Or have a look at Fenton Centre a Farm with an environmental diversification policy in Northumberland National Park.

Learn more about farm diversification from DEFRA



(dictionary) To improve or increase in quality, value, or power, make better or more attractive

Europarc Federation

Europarc is the leading organization for protected areas in Europe, with 500 member organisations in 39 countries. UK National Parks are members of Europarc.

More about Europarc

European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas

The Charter "is a practical management tool that enables protected areas to develop tourism sustainably". Managers of Protected Areas need to fulfill several principles, such as developing and implementing a sustainable tourism strategy for their protected area to be accepted as charter areas. Currently 75 protected areas in 8 countries are on the charter, some of those are UK National Parks.

More about the Charter





(dictionary) An environment providing the food and shelter required for an animal to make its home.



International Union for Conservation of Nature, the world’s first global environmental organization which was founded in 1948.

Find out more how UK National Parks are linked with IUCN

The IUCN website

John Muir by Francis m Fritz in 1907

John Muir the "Father of National Parks" photographed by Francis M Fritz in 1907


John Dower

John Dower was an architect and active walker who was asked to write a report on how setting up National Parks could work for England and Wales. John lived at Kirkby Malham in the Yorkshire Dales and was secretary of the Standing Committee on National Parks which had been formed in 1936.  The Dower Report in 1945 led directly to Sir Arthur Hobhouse’s 1947 report which prepared the legislation for the creation of National Parks in England and Wales. The Report presented a first list of 12 areas which, with the exception of the South Downs (on which a decision is expected soon) are all  National Parks today.

John Muir

John Muir (1838 - 1914) "The Father of National Parks", a Scottish born American naturalist whose work helped to inspire the American people to save their wilderness places and set up National Parks.

The John Muir Trust was set up in the UK for wild land conservation

John Muir Award - everyone can do it!

Wikipedia entry on John Muir




"Landscape is important, not just as scenery but because it links culture with nature, and the past with the present. It has many values, not all of them tangible (such as sense of place); and it matters to people – it is people who create and value landscape" read more on the Natural England website


- (dictionary) The action of making laws



(of a National Park Authority) The role of members is to provide leadership and direction for the National Park Authority. A member works with the Chair (called Convenor in Scotland), Chief Executive and other members to look over and guide the management of the Authority  so that it delivers benefits to the nation and its local communities in accordance with National Park purposes/aims . Members are unpaid and have relevant expertise, experience and knowledge that  helps them to judge independently on the work of the National Parks. They regularly attend meetings and working groups and always work in the best interests of the National Park.

Learn more about National Park Authorities


(dictionary) To make seem less serious, reducing the severity of something. People talk about the "mitigation of Climate Change"


National Trails

National Trails are long distance routes for walking, cycling and horse riding through the finest landscapes in England and Wales. In Scotland the equivalent trails are called long distance routes.60 years ago the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act helped to create several countryside designations. National Trails and National Parks were two of them.

The National Trails website

Learn more how National Trails and National Parks came about 60 years ago

National Scenic Area (NSA)

NSA is a designation to protect the Scottish landscape. There are 40 NSAs in Scotland.

More about NSAs on this website

More about NSAs from Scottish Natural Heritage




to preserve (dictionary) maintain in its existing, original state, keep alive, keep safe from harm or injury

Protected areas

- A protected area is a location which has a clear boundary. It has people and laws that make sure that nature and wildlife are protected and that people can continue to benefit from nature without destroying it. National Parks are protected areas.

Learn more about protected areas

Protected Species

These are living creatures, animals and plants that are endangered or threatened to become extinct. In National Parks we have National Park Biodiversity Action Plans (NPBAPs), which are programmes to conserve and enhance protected species and habitats.

UK List of Priority Species and Habitats

The international Red List of Threatened Species by IUCN

How we look after Wildlife and Habitats




Sandford Principle

 “Where irreconcilable conflicts exist between conservation and public enjoyment, then conservation interest should take priority”. The Sandford Principle helps National Park Authorities to make decisions between conservation and recreation.

Learn more about the Sandford Principle

Sir Arthur Lawrence Hobhouse

(1886-1965) was an English politician who is best remembered as the architect of the system of National parks of England and Wales. Hobhouse was knighted in 1942 and in 1945 he was appointed to bet the chair of the National Parks Committee. The resulting Hobhouse Report was the basis for the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949.  

Sustainable Development

The most commonly used definition is from the Brundtland Report in 1987 :"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." National Parks are models for sustainable development in the countryside, and the National Parks in England and Wales are given money by the government to run the sustainable development fund.

Sustainable Development Projects in National Parks

Wikipedia entry on Sustainability


(dictionary) Required, permitted or enacted by statute (statute = written law passed by a legislative body)






Wilderness is a word with many meanings, this is what the dictionary says: A wild and uncultivated region, as of forest or desert, uninhabited or inhabited only by wild animals; a tract of wasteland . For further investigation you could start with these two links:

What is a wilderness area by the WILD foundation

Wikipedia entry for wilderness

World Heritage Site

A World Heritage Site is an international designation given by UNESCO. Currently there are 28 World Heritage Sites in the UK

More about World Heritage Sites





Learn more about countryside law from naturenet

1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act

This Act made the designation of National Parks in England and Wales possible. In 2009 the Act celebrates its 60th Anniversary. Here are a few starting points to investigate further:

Learn all about this Act and its 60th Anniversary

Wikipedia entry on this Act

This link leads you to the actual Act as a PDF document

Environment Act 1995

This Act applies in England, Scotland and Wales. It helped to set up National Park Authorities in England and Wales and creates National Park Management Plans.

This link leads you to the actual Act as a PDF document

Wikipedia entry on this Act

More about the Act from NetRegs

Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Act 1988

This Act set up the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Authority. It gives the Broads Authority

similar duties to those of UK's National Parks and recognises that it has similar protection status as National Parks.

This link leads you to the actual Act as a PDF document

About the Act from the Broads Authority

Wikipedia entry on the Broads

The National Parks (Scotland) Act 2000 -

This Act helped to set up National Parks in Scotland. It says how Scottish National Park Authorities should be run and what they can do.

Guide to the Act by Scottish Natural Heritage

This links you to the actual Act

Wikipedia entry on this Act

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981

This is an important and significant Act for the protection of Britain's Wildlife

Learn more on naturenet about this Act

Learn more about this Act at JNCC's website

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