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  1. Quick Guide To Britains National Parks

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    Make the most of the late Spring with a good walk in one of our outstanding national parks. Here’s a handy guide with links to help you make up your mind where to go. Why not work your way through them all this year?

    Exmoor National Park: 267 square miles make it one of England’s smaller National Parks. For further information go to:

    Lake District National Park: Tackle some of England’s highest peaks in the Lake District National Park. For further information go to:

    New Forest National Park: The New Forest is situated in the deep south of England, between the urban areas of Southampton and Bournemouth and bounded by the Solent. For further information go to:

    North York Moors National Park: Is a true northern treasure. Enjoy tremendous variety within a relatively compact area.

    Northumberland National Park: If you wish to discover a landscape of limitless beauty and a welcome that is warm and genuine then Northumberland National Park, the land of the far horizons, will provide

    an experience you will not want to forget. For further information go to:

    The Peak District National Park: The first National Park to be established, the Peak District National Park covers parts of six counties between Sheffield and Manchester. For further information go to:

    The Yorkshire Dales National Park: Sitting astride the central Pennine watershed. The Yorkshire Dales National Park has been described variously as wild, expansive, tranquil and, at times, awesome and bleak. For further information go to:

    The Cairngorms National Park: Is the UK’s largest national park with a large mountain range at its heart. The habitat offers a secure haven for many of Britain’s rarest bird, animal and plant species. Of particular interest to hill walkers is that four of Scotland’s five highest peaks can be found in this National Park where the arctic wilderness is the largest example of arctic mountain landscape in the British Isles. For further information go to:

    Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park: Whatever the weather, offers stunning surroundings for your visit. For further information go to:

    Snowdonia National Park: Covers 823 square miles of the most beautiful and unspoilt countryside in North Wales. For further information go to:

    Pembrokeshire National Park: This is Britain’s only truly coastal National Park. It’s a spectacular landscape of rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, wooded estuaries and wild inland hills, and a place of sanctuary for wildlife. For further information go to:

    Brecon Beacons National Park: stunning scenery with its own history and heritage, cuisine, traditions, myths and culture. For further information go to:

    Dartmoor National Park: Is a stunningly beautiful area of moorland accented with wooded valleys and windswept Tors (towers). A wide open expanse covering 369 square miles (953 sq. km.), the area features some of the wildest and bleakest country in England. For further information go to:

  2. Vote For Conservation Projects!

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    With record numbers of applications this year for the European Outdoor Conservation Association’s (EOCA) funding round, the association is asking the public to get involved in helping decide which conservation projects to support in 2012. Following a total of 31,000 votes across Europe last year and 74 application for funding this year, EOCA is again working with several magazines, which will be showcasing the shortlisted projects and asking readers to choose the projects they feel are most deserving of funding.  Divided into 3 categories – nature, outdoor and alpine, the public will be able to vote for one project in each category with the results being announced online during April, and officially announced, along with projects chosen by EOCA members in July.  With 100% of funds raised going directly into conservation projects, EOCA and its members also hope by the summer to be able to announce the raising of its first €1 million since its inception just 6 years ago. For more information on the projects in each category and to vote, go to, where you can vote immediately,

    Nature Category: National Geographic Germany

    Outdoor Category: TGO (UK), Wider (France), LIFT/ Bike & Trekking (Netherlands)

    Alpine Category: Alpin (Germany)

    The European Outdoor Conservation Association is an initiative from the European outdoor industry with the objective of protecting the wild areas it cares so passionately about.

    The image shows the Kongu waterfall in Ivindo National Park, Gabon. Although the tropical forest along the Ivindo river and magnificent Kongou waterfall was declared a national park in 2003, its future is still uncertain unless consistent conservation activities can be put in place that can give the area an economic value in the eyes of the Gabonese government. It is proposed that regular wildlife surveys and the development of local wealth through tourism would add substantial economical value to the area, contributing to its preservation. Creation of new ecotourism opportunities through foot and bike trails and training of locals as guides, as well as surveys to assess the richness of the biodiversity of the primary forest would be carried out.  See more at

  3. National Parks – Promoting And Conserving The Landscape For Walkers

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    Neighbouring national parks in Cumbria and Yorkshire demonstrate two aspects of the work they undertake throughout the year.

    A favourite path for Lake District walkers has finally been repaired and restored, by the Lake District National Park Paths for the Public Project, to the way it was prior to 2009’s record-breaking floods washing away the route in a landslide. The 30m landslide which created a large gap on the bridleway between Gatesgarth and Scarth Gap is now being used by walkers again allowing them to enjoy the fine views over Buttermere. The historical route, which Lake District author and fell guide Alfred Wainwright described as “one of the pleasantest of foot passes”, is regularly used by walkers climbing Haystacks, one of Wainwright’s favourite peaks and his last resting place.

    Although restoring the path was paramount, managing the surface water was as important to ensure that a similar failure didn’t happen again elsewhere along the path.  Contractors eventually came up with the most sympathetic solution which resulted in more than 100 tonnes of materials being recovered from the bottom of the slope to fill the gap. At the same time, slate from nearby Honister Mine was used to create a drain which catches the water and directs it away from the affected area.

    The Visitor 2012 – the latest edition of the free, official guide to the Yorkshire Dales National Park – is now available and it is packed full of information about activities for all ages. There are details of where to go and who to contact if you want to try adrenaline-pumping sports like caving and rock climbing as well as a few words from Bradford’s own climbing legend John Dunne. What makes the Dales the Dales? Discover some of the curious landscape features, myths, dialect words and traditions that make this part of the world so special, including sheep creeps, coin trees and the legend of the devil dog at Troller’s Gill.

    You can take a year-long journey through the National Park in words and pictures, discovering how life unfolds through the seasons in the countryside, and you are invited to ‘go out for the count’, helping the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) and other conservation organisations survey some of the UK’s key wildlife species, while learning about everything from toads and toadstools to bats and butterflies. As always, the paper features an 11-page What’s On guide overflowing with events ranging from guided walks to hands-on activities at the Authority-owned Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes.  And new for 2012 is an accommodation listing which the YDNPA hopes will grow in future years.

    The newspaper can be picked up from Hawes, Aysgarth Falls, Reeth, Malham and Grassington National Park Centres or you can order a copy at There is also an online version to browse in the Tourist Information section of the YDNPA’s website.

  4. Autumn Gold Trails In The New Forest

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    New Forest Autumn Highlights

    Autumn under the canopy of the New Forest when the woodland comes alive with rich reds and golden hues is the perfect time to scuff through fallen leaves and enjoy nature’s spectacular seasonal show. Last year brought one of the most impressive displays of autumn colours in 80 years – to rival even the Canadian fall – due to the New Forest’s unique mix of ancient, ornamental and native trees. Expectations are high again for this year.

    The regal red stag heralds autumn in the New Forest with its bellow to mark the start of the rutting season and wildlife stores plentiful supplies of nuts, fruit and berries from the laden trees and hedgerows. It is the best time to explore 150 miles of picturesque car-free trails with bike or horseback rides through the ancient National Park landscape. Go on fungi walks to spot fairy toadstools at the start of the fungi season or hunt for conkers which have fallen among the crisp, curled leaves on the ground.

    Innovative New Forest Taste Trails can lead you on foot, by bike or on horseback through the most spectacular scenery, stopping to ‘re-fuel’ with meals which range from the best ploughman’s to three-course fine dining. You can also pick up insiders’ tips on where to pick up supper treats along the way. Choose from a North, South, Sea Air or Woodland Wander trail to suit your mood and taste. If you prefer a more relaxed ramble with time to appreciate the stunning scenery and explore some of the New Forest’s charming towns and villages, then the New Forest National Park rangers, make choosing a route easy.

    Fungi Walks in the New Forest are being led by Hidden Britain Tours with experts from Hampshire Fungus Recording Group to find and identify different species. All the walks are from 10am to 12.45pm on a Thursday and cost £16 per person, with the option to stay for a drink or lunch at a pub afterwards. To book or for more information, call the Lyndhurst Visitor Information Centre on 02380 282269 or email

    Visitors can use the New Forest Visitor Information Centre at Lyndhurst as a starting point for details of a wealth of attractions and facilities in the area.


    New Forest Autumn Walks And Fungal Forays

  5. UK National Parks Week 25-31st July

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    Figures recently compiled show that paying a visit to one of the UK’s 15 National Parks is not only good for you but that visitors to National Parks contribute more than £4.5 billion to the economy with over 70 million visitors spending more than 160 million days enjoying National Parks. National Parks Week is held every year to raise awareness and celebrate Britain’s National Parks – dramatic and beautiful expanses of countryside free for everyone to visit and enjoy all year round. This year’s National Parks Week is from 25 – 31 July with a wide range of events on offer.

    Carl Lis, chairman of the UK Association of National Park Authorities said, “In such financially austere times it’s good to see the significant value and economic benefits that National Parks deliver for society as a whole and our figures support and reinforce the conclusions of the recently published National Ecosystem Assessment by Government. “Together with others, National Park Authorities make sure that National Parks are kept beautiful, open and accessible so that everyone can take time out from the stresses of daily life to refresh mind, body and spirit in stunning natural surroundings. Local communities benefit from the appeal of this unspoilt countryside through holiday accommodation and local shops, pubs, restaurants and services with National Parks Week being just one of the many ways that people can enjoy their National Parks.”

    Events on offer during National Parks Week include bush craft and survival skills or map and compass days in the Lake District and Peak District National Parks, a chance to be an archaeological detective for a day in the North York Moors, travel back in time to experience life in an Iron Age hut in Pembrokeshire Coast or be inspired by the National Park’s natural environment and create your own masterpiece at a messy, fun pottery session in the Brecon Beacons. Details of National Parks Week events can be found at

    There are 15 Members of the National Park Family – 14 National Parks namely Brecon Beacons, Cairngorms, Dartmoor, Exmoor, The Lake District, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, The New Forest, Northumberland, North York Moors, The Peak District, Pembrokeshire Coast, Snowdonia, South Downs and The Yorkshire Dales; and the Broads which has equivalent status to a National Park.

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