The world’s national parks and nature reserves receive eight billion tourist visitors a year. New research of over 500 of the most visited natural spaces in the world has concluded that five of England’s national parks are in the Top Ten for visitor numbers with the Lake District and Peak District National Parks each with more than 10 million visitors a year. I am pleased to say that I have visited and photographed all of them.
We’ll start with a view from Satura Crag which is situated along Angle Tarn Pikes in the North Eastern part of the Lake District. In the background are Fairfield, St Sunday Crag and Helvellyn. The Lake District is a mountainous region in North West England being the largest National Park in England and Wales, and second largest in the British Isles. All the land in England higher than 3000 feet above sea level lies within it, including Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England. It also contains the deepest and longest lakes in England.
Next up is the Peak District, my nearest National Park. and the first National Park in the UK designated in 1951. The Peak District is an upland area in central and northern England, lying mainly in northern Derbyshire, but also covering parts of Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Staffordshire and South and West Yorkshire. An area of great diversity, it is conventionally split into the northern Dark Peak, where most of the moorland is found and whose geology is gritstone, and the southern White Peak, where most of the population lives and where the geology is mainly limestone-based.
This is the #Roaches, with Hen Cloud, Five Clouds and Ramshaw Rocks, which forms the gritstone escarpment which marks the south-west boundary of the park. They stand like a line of silent sentinels guarding the entrance to the Peak District, worn into fantastic shapes by the elements.
One of my favourite images takes us to the North York Moors. The North York Moors National Park is a beautiful landscape of stunning moorland, spectacular coast, ancient woodland and historic sites. Ainhowe or Ana Cross is situated just east of Rosedale Chimney Bank on wild Spaunton Moor and has been a prominent landmark for hundreds of years. The original cross can be seen in the crypt of Lastingham Church, about 2 miles south of the present structure which stands at an impressive height of over 3 metres. This makes it the tallest cross on the moors but at one time it stood even higher, 8 metres high!
Heading south now for the final two parks, first Dartmoor National Park includes the largest area of granite in Britain, although most of it is under superficial peat deposits. Dartmoor is known for its tors — hills topped with outcrops of bedrock, which in granite country such as this are usually rounded boulder-like formations. Bowerman’s Nose is a stack of weathered granite on Dartmoor. It is situated on the northern slopes of Hayne Down, about a mile from Hound Tor and closes to the village of Manaton. It is about 21 feet high and is the hard granite core of a former tor, standing above a ‘clitter’ of the blocks that have eroded and fallen from it.
Last but not least, although it is our smallest National Park is the New Forest. Once a royal hunting ground for King William I and his noblemen, in the 12th century AD. The rare blend of open heathlands and ancient woodlands makes the New Forest – affectionately called the Forest by locals – a unique and very special place indeed, the underlying features of which have changed little over the centuries.
This twisted Scots #pine is growing at Bratley View on Mogshade Hill. It is a much-photographed tree with magnificent views to the surrounding woodlands.
So well done to the National Parks and their staff for all their hard work and dedication which quite clearly from this research has proved to be very worthwhile and beneficial to everyone.