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United Kingdom National Parks

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The National Parks [1] (Welsh: parciau cenedlaethol) of the United Kingdom are to be found primarily in England and Wales; two recent additions exist in Scotland. There are as yet no National Parks in Northern Ireland.

Slightly less strict designations also exist, the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England and Wales, and the National Scenic Area in Scotland.

Understand

Each park is operated by its own National Park Authority, with two "statutory purposes":

  • to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area, and
  • to promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the park's special qualities by the public.

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.

National Parks

England

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.

Wales

Scotland

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 originally by the Countryside Agency, on behalf of the government. The equivalent in Scotland is the National Scenic Area. Natural England[2] was set up in 2006 to succeed the Countryside Agency in England, and is a government body responsible for the protection and improvement of the natural environment in England.

England
Wales
Northern Ireland

National Scenic Areas

National Scenic Area (NSA)[3] 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.

Aberdeenshire

  • Deeside and Lochnagar

Argyll and Bute

  • Jura
  • Knapdale
  • Kyles of Bute
  • Loch Lomond - now part of a National Park along with The Trossachs.
  • Loch na Keal, Isle of Mull
  • Lynn of Lorn
  • Scarba, Lunga and the Garvellachs

Dumfries and Galloway

  • East Stewartry Coast
  • Fleet Valley

Highland

  • Assynt - Coigach
  • Ben Nevis and Glen Coe
  • Dornoch Firth
  • Glen Affric
  • Glen Strathfarrar
  • Kintail
  • Knoydart
  • Kyle of Tongue

North Ayrshire

Orkney Islands

  • Hoy and West Mainland

Perthshire and Kinross

  • Loch Rannoch and Glen Lyon
  • Loch Tummel

Shetland Isles

Stirling

  • The Trossachs - now part of a National Park along with Loch Lomond.

Borders

  • Eildon and Leaderfoot
  • Upper Tweeddale

Western Isles

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