Cycling, Discovery, Walking, West Highland Way

19 things to know about Britain’s national parks

21 Jul , 2016  

National Parks Week, from July 25 to 31, 2016, offers the chance to celebrate the Britain’s unique natural parklands. We reveal 19 things you might not know about the national parks.

1 The theme for this year’s National Parks Week is adventure. From walking and cycling to more quirky activities, such as geocaching and canyoning, there is a host of adventurous fun to enjoy in the parks.

2 There are 15 national parks in Britain, including two in Scotland, three in Wales and 10 in England.

The stunning Pembrokeshire coast.

The stunning Pembrokeshire coast.

3 The Pembrokeshire Coast NP Park is the only fully coastal national park and boasts 418km of cliffs, beaches, harbours and coves. Walk the Pembrokeshire Coast Path with Macs Adventure.

4 The Broads National Park includes seven rivers and more than 60 broads (small lakes).

5 The Broads NP is also home to more than a quarter of Britain’s rarest wildlife

6 The Cairngorms is Britain’s largest National Park. Explore on bike during a Tour of the Cairngorms self-guided holiday.

View from the summit of Ben Macdui, Scotland's second tallest mountain.

View from the summit of Ben Macdui, Scotland’s second tallest mountain, located in the Cairngorms.

7 Five of the UK’s six highest mountains lie inside the Cairngorms NP and there are 59 Munros (Scottish mountains over 3,000ft). You’ll discover so much about the Cairngorms, including wildlife, whisky and castles, on a Cairngorms walking holiday.

8 The other Scottish NP, Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park has 22 large lochs – including the largest freshwater lake in the UK, Loch Lomond – 21 Munros and some 50 rivers and streams, so you’re never far from a fantastic view across water. The Trossachs Trail offers a superb walking holiday in the park, as does the ever popular West Highland Way.

9 Dartmoor is the only national park in England to allow wild camping.

10 Steven Spielberg said of Dartmoor. “[I have] never before, in my long and eclectic career, been gifted with such an abundance of natural beauty as I experienced filming War Horse on Dartmoor.” The NP has long been the inspiration for writers, such as Conan Doyle who penned The Hound of the Baskervilles, and film directors. See the beauty of this area for yourself on a Dartmoor and Jurassic Coast walking holiday.

Exmoor National Park.

Exmoor National Park.

11 Exmoor is an International Dark Sky reserve, which means it is deemed exceptional for seeing starry nights. Visit the NP during a Devon North Coast & Exmoor walking holiday.

12 Northumberland NP is designated a Dark Sky Park and can claim to be the largest area of protected night sky in Europe. Visit the park on the Hadrian’s Wall Walk and take in the amazing Roman Wall remains.

13 Lake District NP boasts Scafell, England’s highest mountain, Wainwright’s famous 214 fell walks and 16 larger lakes (and many smaller ones).

14 New Forest National Park has trees that are more than 1000 years old.

15 There is not a scrap of evidence to suggest that Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest folklore visited Robin Hood’s Bay in the North York Moor NP! Another theory is that the name came from the name of an ancient forest spirit or elf, Robin Goodfellow, and this name ended up as Robin Hood’s Bay.

The Peak District.

The Peak District.

16 Peak District has both a Dark Peak, gritstone, and a White Peak, limestone. Walk in the Peak District.

17 Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, is located in Snowdonia NP.

Seven Sisters.

Seven Sisters.

18 See the breath-taking white cliffs at Seven Sisters in the South Downs National Park. Why not walk the South Downs Way on an inspiring holiday?

Delicious Wensleydale cheese. PIc credit: Jon Sullivan

Delicious Wensleydale cheese. Pic credit: Jon Sullivan

19 Yorkshire Dales NP is the home of Wensleydale cheese and Yorkshire’s “three peaks” of Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-y-ghent.

For some inspiration on longer walking and cycling trails which visit some of these great spaces, view Macs Adventure’s collection of walking and cycling trails visiting the UK National Parks.

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A journalist, web copywriter blogger and social media chatterbox, Fiona combines her love of the outdoors – especially Scotland – with a diverse freelance work life. If she's not at her desk writing about the outdoors, she'll be outside cycling, running, kayaking, snowboarding and walking Munros. She shares her outdoors passion with partner, the G-Force. Sometimes her teenage daughter Little Miss Outdoors tags along, too.