Britain's National Parks Today
One big family There are 15 members of the National Parks family in the UK, beautiful areas of mountains, meadows, moorlands, woods and wetlands.
They are areas of protected countryside that everyone can visit, and where people live, work and shape the landscape.
And each one is managed by its own National Park Authority that looks after the landscape and wildlife and helps people enjoy and learn about the area.
The UK’s 15 National Parks are part of a global family of over 113,000 protected areas, covering 149 million square kilometres or 6% of the Earth’s surface. We are linked to Europe through the EUROPARC Federation – a network of European protected areas with 360 member organisations in 37 countries.
There are 10 National Parks in England, 3 in Wales and 2 in Scotland, they are:
• England - Dartmoor, Exmoor, Lake District, New Forest, Northumberland, North York Moors, Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales, the South Downs and the Broads which has equivalent status to a National Park
• Wales - Brecon Beacons, Pembrokeshire Coast and Snowdonia
• Scotland - Cairngorms and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs.
Not ours - but ours to look after
Each National Park is administered by its own National Park Authority. They are independent bodies funded by central government to:
• conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage; and
• promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of National Parks by the public.
If there’s a conflict between these two purposes, conservation takes priority. In carrying out these aims, National Park Authorities are also required to seek to foster the economic and social well-being of local communities within the National Park.
The Broads Authority has a third purpose, protecting the interests of navigation, and under the Broads Act 1988 all three purposes have equal priority.
The Scottish National Parks' objectives are to also promote the sustainable use of natural resources, the sustainable economic and social development of local communities and more of a focus on recreation.
For more information and links to all 15 National Park websites, see: