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National Parks Week has been transformed. In 2019, the annual event is moving to spring (6th – 21st April), to coincide with the Easter holidays, and will now be a fortnightly event, known as Discover National Parks.
2019 marks the 70th anniversary of National Parks, so what better time to persuade people to visit their nearest national park? Here in the UK, we are lucky enough to have 15 National Parks to enjoy, protecting some of the most spectacular examples of British landscapes, as well as heritage sites, conservation areas and Sites of Specific Scientific Interest.
Explore the dramatic moors of Dartmoor, amble through the rolling hills of the South Downs, climb to the heights of Snowdonia, indulge in some watersports in the Lake District, watch seals playing off the coast of Northumberland or take in the ancient charm of Loch Lomond and the surrounding Trossachs. All this and more can be experienced at our National Parks.
Read on for our guide to some of the great events taking place during the Discover National Parks fortnight…
The newest of all the national parks, South Downs was established back in 2010. For Discover national Parks fortnight, there will be a wildlife roadshow touring towns and cities across the south east to showcase the South Downs National Park, running between 11am and 3pm daily.
The Rangers of the South Downs National Park will be coming to town centres within close proximity of the park, with free activities for the whole family to take part in. They’ll also showing people how easy it is to get outside and discover the National Park on their doorstep and best of all, it’s absolutely free.
A 2-hour session (10:30am – 12:30pm) will take place to give more of an insight into Exmoor National Park, including its wildlife, history and landscapes. This will be followed by a walk around the park to see things for yourself.
It’s a brilliant and informative way of getting to know the National Park and discovering ways to get involved yourself, plus it’s absolutely free (although you may be asked to make a donation). Booking is essential, as this is a brand new event.This is an introductory event suitable for anyone who would like to know a bit more about our National Park and perhaps find out how to get more involved.
This 3-hour guided wildlife walk will take place between 12-3pm, taking in the incredible flora and fauna that can be found between East Lynn and Watersmeet. This stunning valley was featured on Julia Bradbury’s ITV show, Britain’s Best walks, so is not one to be missed.
There is a cost involved, but this also covers a delicious cream tea at Watersmeet House.
Get ready for a big adventure at Haddon Hill; go on a bug hunt, help to build a giant den, get your face painted and even have a go at cooking some delicious campfire treats.
There are nature walks to embark on, as well as being able to learn essential and practical forest skills, or you can relax and enjoy the picturesque moorland views that surround you.
Welcome in spring with a visit to RSPB Scotland’s Loch Lomond Nature Reserve, where you can explore vast landscapes in search of signs of spring, including meadows and woodland, plus you can join in a treasure hunt at the Nature Hub. There is a cost involved, although this is reduced for RSPB members.
This fascinating workshop takes a trip into the past to discover how our ancestors used charcoal to support the woodland industry. Learn about the charcoal making process, and even try your hand at making it yourself!
Everyone is welcome and no experience is needed, just remember to wear sturdy footwear and sensible outdoor clothing.
The whole family will love this adventurous day out, joining Crag 2 Mountain, Dartmoor’s adventure experts, in learning the basic skills required to become an explorer.
Children will be given the opportunity to gain the National Navigation Award Scheme’s Young Navigator Star Awards (YNSA) Bronze Award and all abilities are catered for, with all skills adapted to each individual’s learning needs. Booking is required.
Shona Ferneyhough, Dartmoor expedition specialist, will be leading this night-time tour of Hound Tor, a magical experience that’s not to be missed.
Explore ancient tors and other monuments, looking for hidden gems and wildlife along the way. A fairly easy walk the whole family will enjoy. Don’t forget to wrap up warm for the occasion, and you may be treated to a lovely cup of hot chocolate to warm you back up!
Spend half a day touring the New Forest Reptile Centre (10:30am – 3:30pm), free of charge, and learn more about the fascinating creatures that inhabit the area. There are fun activities for the entire family to get involved in, and you can observe footage of a bird of prey’s nest,as well as some of the reptiles and amphibians by watching the nestcam video. The centre is dog-friendly, so long as your pet remains on a lead, so the whole family can be a part of this day out.
Images Courtesy of: Jim Roberts Gallery – CC BY-ND 2.0; shrinkin’violet – CC BY 2.0; Ian Capper – CC BY-SA 2.0; Richard Sutcliffe – CC BY-SA 2.0; John Ferguson – CC BY-SA 2.0; Steffen Zahn – CC BY 2.0; John Phillips – CC BY-SA 2.0; Clive Perrin – CC BY-SA 2.0;
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