Discover National Parks Fortnight returns between 2-18 April, after a two-year COVID enforced hiatus. During that time the value of visiting green and blue spaces has been highlighted by unprecedented numbers of people heading into the UK wilderness for the first time. This year, National Parks across the UK are encouraging people to embrace and expand that spirit, to ‘Do something new and share your story’. Over the course of the two weeks the National Parks will make suggestions for five ways to do something new and in the final Easter weekend of the fortnight will launch a brand-new way to share your story.
Tom Hind, CEO of North York Moors National Park and lead CEO for visitor management said: “We’ve learned an awful lot over the past two years about the different ways that people want to connect with nature and how we help them look after the special qualities of the places they are visiting. This year we are inviting people to give some extra thought to how they visit and perhaps try something new. We also know that the best way to get that message out is through them sharing the experience with friends, family, and followers, so we’re also asking people to share their stories using #DiscoverNew and #GreenSpaceStories so we all champion the best, most enjoyable, most sustainable ways to enjoy our National Parks and care for them at the same time.”
The five ways to do something new:
If you are inexperienced or new to exploring the countryside, it can seem a little daunting. National Parks are some of the best places to make that first step. Through National Parks people can Join in or Join up with one of the many activities and local groups designed to introduce you to these special places – during the fortnight or throughout the year. There is something for everyone, whether visiting alone or with friends or family, and they are free to visit.
Tom Hind continues: “This year we’ve partnered with outdoor arts event experts, Walk the Plank, to create a really special series of events in National Parks and AONBs that anyone can join in with: Green Space Dark Skies. We’re looking for 20,000 participants for a once in a lifetime experience as one of our Lumenators. Events are taking place between April and September and you can find one near you and join up today.”
For many people who visit National Parks, that experience will have been made better or easier through the efforts of over 5,000 volunteers. It’s one vital way that you can give something back and there are lots of different ways to volunteer, no matter what their age, experience or how much time they have. The full range of volunteering opportunities in each National Park can be found here.
The middle weekend of Discover National Parks Fortnight (9-10 April) is dedicated to the Young Leaders in National Parks. Through various programmes, young people passionate about our landscapes and the environment are experiencing what it’s like to take the initiative and become actively involved. This can lead to careers in the green economy, but also gives them a real leadership voice in the National Parks movement today. New opportunities for young people will be highlighted and National Parks’ social media channels will be sharing messages from participants at the recent Youth Voice event in the Peak District about their hopes for the future and how they are beginning to realise them today through their work in National Parks.
To help visitors avoid hitting overcrowded roads, car parks and attractions, each of the National Parks has created resources to make it easier for visitors to discover the less well-known – but equally amazing – places within the Parks.
Tom Hind suggests: “Whether you’re planning to visit this Discover National Parks Fortnight, or at any time this year, head to the websites of the National Parks to discover somewhere new to go. It’s not difficult to beat the crowds with a bit of preparation.” Find out more here.
A simple way to avoid the stress of driving on crowded lanes and finding a parking spot is to use more sustainable travel options, including trains, buses and bicycles. The journey becomes part of the experience and it can often be more sustainable option. National Parks are adding sustainable travel options and information to websites all the time and the latest can be found here.
Share Your Story
Over the course of the fortnight, National Parks will be using social media to encourage people to use #DiscoverNew and #GreenSpaceStories to share where they have visited and new things they have done. At the end of Discover National Parks Fortnight a unique new platform will be launched that is designed specifically to share their stories about visiting green and blue spaces, in a way that can influence how people explore and access the UK countryside for generations to come.
Tom Hind says: “By sharing stories of something new, our visitors can influence their friends, families and followers to discover all that’s great about National Parks in a way that suits them and helps us to look after them forever.”
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About UK National Parks
There are 15 National Parks in the UK, covering 10% of Great Britain. National Parks are visited over 100 million times each year. 2021 saw the 70th Anniversary of the confirmation of the first four National Parks – Peak District, Dartmoor, Lake District and Snowdonia. 2022 will see the 70th Anniversary of two more – North York Moors and Pembrokeshire Coast. For more information www.nationalparks.uk
The UK’s National Parks are managed by autonomous National Park Authorities.
For more information, interviews and high-resolution images, contact:
Kate Measures: 07966 487733 email@example.com