Poster of National Parks in Great Britain

National Parks Breacon - Dennis Maps Ordnance Survey posterThis year is the 70th anniversary of the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act that led to the creation of the 15 National Parks in Great Britain.

To celebrate the anniversary Ordnance Survey have created a poster featuring the stunning variety of landscapes in the National Parks in the order of their creation. Dennis Maps are proud to have printed the poster, which was inspired by old Ordnance Survey maps that used natural colours, but with the addition of a contemporary 3D appearance.

National Parks for the enjoyment of the people

The National Parks were established to protect and care for special landscapes across the country, and make them available for everyone to visit and enjoy.

The locations, from the Cairngorms in Scotland to the New Forest, were chosen to be easily accessible from main centres of population, and this is still where the vast majority of visitors come from – only 7% come from outside the UK.

The most popular activity for visitors is walking, enjoyed by 40%, followed by sightseeing by car, but many other activities are available for the more energetic, including climbing, horse riding, sailing and mountain biking.

Caring for the National ParksNational Parks Yorkshire Dales - Dennis Maps - Ordnance Survey poster

The National Parks may look like works of nature, but in fact they have been shaped by human activity over millennia, particularly by farming. Today they are carefully managed, not only to preserve this heritage but also to protect the environment and livelihoods of those who live there. It’s a delicate balance to maintain the natural environment for the future and to continue to attract visitors, whilst supporting local businesses and providing sufficient affordable housing.

Thousands of historic buildings and sites add to the attraction of the National Parks, and need maintenance by people trained in traditional skills like dry stone walling and thatching. When new building work takes place National Parks archaeologists often take the opportunity to carry out a dig to explore the area and unearth new remains that will shed light on how the area was used in the past.

Landscape, coast and ancient sites

National Parks Lake District - Dennis Maps - Ordnance Survey posterTo name just a few of these ancient sites, Hadrian’s Wall stretches through three National Parks – the North York Moors, Northumberland and the Lake District. On Dartmoor is Higher Uppacott, a medieval longhouse where people and cattle were both housed under a single roof. In the Yorkshire Dales eighteenth century mills reveal the development of the Industrial Revolution, as does a 300 year old blast furnace in Snowdonia.

The first National Park was the Peak District in Derbyshire, founded in 1951 and comprising rugged moorlands, limestone dales and grand stately homes. The most recent, established in 2010, is the South Downs, where you can find ancient woodland, white cliffs, chocolate box villages, and vineyards.

If you enjoy being by the sea, then the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park will appeal. There’s 300 km of coast path to walk along between sandy beaches and quiet coves, while keeping an eye open seaward for seals, dolphins and basking sharks.

The Broads National Park in Norfolk offers a completely different kind of watery landscape. Digging out peat for fuel in the Middle Ages created broad, shallow lakes connected by rivers, teeming with wildlife and punctuated by windmills.

Be sure to take a look at the National Parks website for more information about each of the parks, to follow the latest news on social media, and join in the celebrations by planning your own visit. The wide range of activities and events taking place in the parks provide something for every age and interest.

You can buy the AO size (841 x 1189 mm) National Parks poster from the Ordnance Survey online shop for £14.99.

Further reading: Country Walks and The Countryside Code

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