There are 15 national parks in Britain, spread throughout England, Scotland and Wales, all of them beautiful, all of them with something unique to offer the willing adventurer. And if you are willing, then read on to find out where these national parks are, what they have to offer, and everything else you need to know to get out there and explore.
What is a national park?
An area of land (or sometimes water), that has been set aside for the conservation of nature and for the enjoyment of the public. Urban and commercial development is limited. Some parks have visitor centres and are well maintained, others are left completely wild. The areas chosen to have a national park status all have a quality that makes them unique, whether it’s the plants that grow, the animals that live there, the landscape, the location or something else. Which means all of them are worth visiting, and none are the same. But here is a guide to some of what you can discover.
National Park Guide
What can I do there?
The parks are popular amongst walkers and runners. While some parks offer challenging cycling routes, for both road cyclists and mountain bikers. Go horse riding, kayaking, and outdoor swimming. Take a picnic and enjoy eating in amongst the wild grass, hills, trees, lakes and animals. Or go at night to stargaze. Free of light pollution, national parks have the blackest skies and the brightest stars. In some parks (Dartmoor, for example), you are allowed to wild camp, as long as you leave no traces of your stay behind you. Or find out what national park events are coming up.
Reach for the stars!
How do I get around?
Don’t worry if you haven’t got a car, bus lines serve national parks so you can at least get to a starting point and from there you can hit the trails. And trains can good be a good way to cover the long distance to the middle of nowhere. Otherwise try car sharing. Or go by bike. Or walk.
What do I need to take with me?
Comfortable boots or shoes. Raincoat. This is the UK, remember that. Water to keep you hydrated, food to keep you from getting hangry. A map so you don’t get lost. A phone for emergencies, or if you do get lost and need to call for help. A camera if you are a keen photographer, a pair of binoculars if you just want a closer look. Warm clothes in the winter. Sun cream for those hot summer days. Ha-ha, you should be so lucky.
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