There are a total of 15 national parks dotted across Great Britain, all of which boast stunning and diverse scenic splendour. These immensely beautiful areas conserve the wildlife and cultural heritage of a region and being the so-called ‘breathing spaces’ of Britain, it is hardly surprising these parks collectively attract an estimated 110 million visitors each year.
National Parks Week
Each summer the National Parks Week takes place, which celebrates the unique beauty of Britain’s ‘winning landscapes’ and encourages people to visit national parks across the United Kingdom.
From 30th July – 5th August, National Parks Week 2012 is taking place. Being held simultaneously with the London Olympics, this year’s National Parks Week is particularly emphasising how Britain’s most enviable assets have inspired sportsmen and women, including Olympic athletes, to train to their optimum ability.
Hundreds of events will take place throughout the week, providing fun for all the family and all sporting abilities. These events include the Snowdon mountain race in the Snowdonia National Park, a guided walk through Peak District National Park’s flower meadow and the opportunity tolearn the ways of a Civil War soldier at Exmoor National Park.
The Lake District National Park is the second largest national park in the UK and encompasses almost the whole of the Lake District. This area of breathtakingly vivid landscapes comprises of lakes, rivers, mountains and forests. Given its untiring scenic splendour and diversity, the Lake District National Park has been inspiring artists and athletes alike for decades.
One particularly prominent athlete the Lake District National park has inspired is Leo Houlding, one of the UK’s most talented young mountaineer and ‘para-alpinism’ athletes, a sport that involves climbing a gigantic rock face and parachuting off its peak.
Having grown up in the Lake District, with the mountainous rapture of the Lake District at his feet, Leo has relied on exploiting the natural facets of the Lake District National Park to advance his sporting abilities and performance.
Peak District National Park
If you are going to visit national parks in Britain during National Parks Week or any other time of the year for that matter, then ensuring the Peak District National Park is part of the agenda is highly recommended. With rolling hillsides sporadically interrupted by menacingly jagged rock formations and peaks, a network of dry-stone walls dividing countless moor land meadows and with ancient burial mounds casting historical light on this ancient landscape, it is understandable why the Peak District National Park attracts some ten million visitors a year.
During National Parks Week the Peak District is hosting a range of activities and is paying particular homage to the person that is possibly the most prominent figure the park has inspired. Gold medal Olympian and London 2012 Chairman Sebastian Coe himself admits to being inspired by the Peak District National Park’s landscape, running regularly there when he belonged to Hallamshire Harriers, a South Yorkshire running club.
Visiting any of the national parks during National Parks Week is one of the best times to witness and experience Britain’s ‘breathing spaces’. For more information on the events taking place during National Parks Week and what other athletes these immensely beautiful areas have inspired, visit the official national parks website.
If you are heading to one of the 15 national parks this summer then don’t forget to take the relevant A-Z Adventure series map found here. These maps contain all the information you will need in one handy book and feature the Ordnance Survey’s most detailed mapping at a scale of 1:25 000, showing public rights of way, open access land, national parks, tourist information, car parks, public houses and camping and caravan sites.