UK National Parks look to the future at Exmoor gathering

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Press Release:

UK National Parks look to the future at Exmoor gathering

Leaders from all fifteen of the United Kingdom’s National Parks are gathering on Exmoor next week. Alongside representatives from government and partner organisations they will consider ‘What does the nation need from National Parks today?’.

The UK National Parks’ Conference, sponsored by Dextra Group plc, will be the first face-to-face summit since the pandemic. Key items on the agenda include nature recovery, responding to climate change, ensuring that landscapes are accessible to all, and, how local communities and rural economies can be supported whilst delivering for the nation.

Among external guest speakers at the three-day event are:

  • Julian Glover OBE – Journalist and Chair of the recent Landscape Review commissioned by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
  • Soraya Abdel-Hadi – Adventurer, sustainable business champion and founder of All The Elements
  • Two of Exmoor’s very own Young Rangers
  • Nick Giles – Managing Director, OS Consumer
  • Stanley Johnson – Environmentalist and writer
  • Daniel Raven-Ellison – Guerrilla geographer & founder of Slow Ways
  • Sarah Mukherjee MBE – Chief Executive IMEA (Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment
  • Minette Batters – President of the National Farmers Union
  • Dr. Tony Juniper Environmentalist and Chair of Natural England.

Robin Milton, Chair of Exmoor National Park Authority said: “It is a privilege to be hosting such a gathering here on Exmoor. Our aim is that all participants leave with a refreshed sense of mission and ambition for what National Parks can offer the nation considering current challenges and opportunities. Many of the challenges we face cannot be solved in isolation. But together, working with communities, government, businesses and charities there are some great opportunities as we look to the years ahead.”

Hosted by the Exmoor National Park Authority for the first time in over 20 years the conference will also provide an opportunity to shine a light on some of the many varied initiatives and projects that are being delivered across Exmoor. A series of study tours, sponsored by the Ordnance Survey, and spread across the whole of the National Park, will showcase the variety of landscapes and opportunities offered in one of the smaller UK National Parks.

Sarah Bryan, Chief Executive of Exmoor National Park Authority said: “We are proud of what Exmoor and all the National Parks across the country have achieved. But we believe there is more to do. We are united in our passion to see a healthy and beautiful environment, thriving communities and enjoyment for all. I hope the conference will further profile the great work being done on Exmoor by many different stakeholders, including local communities, businesses, landowners, farmers and conservationists, for the benefit of everyone from near and far who cherish this very special place.”

The first National Parks in the UK were founded more than 70 years ago in response to a time of great national need following two world wars. The conference theme offers key policy and decision makers an opportunity to address the vital role that National Parks, as national assets, should play in continuing to support the health and wellbeing of the nation. In particular the Exmoor conference will consider the role National Parks can play following the devastating impact of the pandemic and the current cost of living squeeze, along with the urgent need to address the climate and nature crises.


For media enquiries & Interview requests contact:

Jonathan Ray, UK National Parks Communications Director / 07748 302608


Dan James, Rural Enterprise Manager (conference co-ordinator) / 01398 322334.


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