United Kingdom National Parks
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Slightly less strict designations also exist, the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England and Wales, and the National Scenic Area in Scotland.
Each park is operated by its own National Park Authority, with two "statutory purposes":
Despite the name, National Parks in the UK are quite different from those in many other countries, where National Parks are owned and managed by the government as a protected community resource, and permanent human communities are not a part of the landscape. In the UK, National Parks can include substantial towns and villages, and land uses such as farming and forestry which are often integral parts of the landscape. Land within a National Park remains largely in private ownership, and so land access is usually subject to the same restrictions as elsewhere in the country.
The majority of England's National Parks are to be found in the North, reflecting the fact that most wilderness areas are to be found in the mountainous areas of the Pennines and surrounding areas.
NB: The South Downs has been designated as an area awaiting designation as a future National Park.
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the United Kingdom are currently 41 defined areas in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, designated by the Countryside Agency on behalf of the British government. The equivalent in Scotland is the National Scenic Area
National Scenic Areas
National Scenic Area (NSA) is a national landscape designation applied in Scotland. Currently there are 40 designated NSA's. They are considered of national importance based on their outstanding scenic landscapes. National Scenic area is equivalent to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty designation which is used in the other countries of the UK. Since 2003, the superior National Park designation has been introduced. There are currently 2 National Parks in Scotland.
Argyll and Bute
Dumfries and Galloway
Perthshire and Kinross