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About the 70th anniversary

About the 70th anniversary

In 2019 we’re celebrating the 70th anniversary of National Parks.

It’s 70 years since the 1949 Act of Parliament that established the family of National Parks in England and Wales. Known as Britain’s breathing spaces, national parks are areas of spectacular landscape which are given the highest level of protection so that everyone can visit and enjoy them.

Year of Green Action

To celebrate the anniversary there is a nationwide Year of Green Action – a year-long drive to get more people from all backgrounds involved in projects to improve the natural world.

Throughout 2019 there will be events and activities across the New Forest aiming to help people connect, protect and enhance nature.


Mass Trespass

A 1931 government inquiry recommends the creation of a ‘national park authority’ to select areas for designation as national parks. However, no action is taken and public discontent grows, leading to a 1932 mass trespasses on Kinder Scout in the Peak District. Five men are imprisoned.

The Act

1949 was a landmark year as the government passed an Act of Parliament to establish national parks to preserve and enhance their natural beauty and provide recreational opportunities for the public.

Lewis Silkin, Minister for Town and Country Planning, describes it as ‘… the most exciting Act of the post-war Parliament.’

The first national parks

The 1950s saw a decade of new national parks for the nation. The first 10 national parks were designated starting with the Peak District in 1951. By the end of the decade the Lake District, Snowdonia, Dartmoor, Pembrokeshire Coast, North York Moors, Yorkshire Dales, Exmoor, Northumberland and Brecon Beacons National Parks have been established.

The New Forest National Park

In 2005 the New Forest was designated a national park.

You can find out more about the history of national parks on the National Parks website.

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