Over 60,000 school children visit the National Parks each year and the government has long promised to increase increase to this number. Celebrities, led by a coalition of five charities, have now demanded urgent action to more than double the number of school children who get to visit the National Parks each year.
In an open letter released this week, sixteen celebrities including TV legends Carol Vorderman and Caroline Quentin, TV naturalists Liz Bonin and Lizzie Daly, the former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion, author Bill Bryson, potter and CPRE president Emma Bridgewater and writer Richard Mabey call for the government to take action.
Actor and president of Campaign for National Parks, Caroline Quentin said: ‘In this letter we’ve said very clearly that now is the time to take real action to get more children into the beautiful National Parks.
‘I want school children to be inspired to love nature, adventure and the beauty of the countryside. As anyone who has visited the wilds of Exmoor or the Lake District knows, the National Parks are well placed to do this.’
The charities behind the letter are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Act of Parliament that created National Parks, as some of the original organisations that came together to found them. 70 years on from the legislation, Campaign for National Parks, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Society, Ramblers and the YHA are calling for government action to safeguard their future.
Signatory Stuart Maconie, president of the Ramblers, said: ‘Being able to get out and about in the National Parks really can make a huge difference. Inspiring the next generation and giving them a love for getting outdoors will create a generation that wants to protect these incredible landscapes for the future and will benefit their future mental and physical wellbeing, helping them to thrive.’
Prime Minister Theresa May is believed to be enjoying a walking holiday in Snowdonia National Park this Easter weekend. Yet, years of government inaction has meant previous promises to increase the number of school visits to the National Parks have not been fulfilled, denying this enjoyment to tens of thousands of our school children.
For many of the school children who currently visit the National Parks it is their first time experiencing truly dark skies, fresh air and adventure in beautiful countryside. The National Parks contain some of the country’s most important spaces including ancient heritage sites, spectacular waterfalls and important wildlife.
‘Theresa May herself is enjoying Snowdonia National Park this very weekend, so she clearly appreciates how important these places are. We are asking the Prime Minister and her government to share her love of them with the next generation. Let’s give them the gift of a closer relationship with the natural world and help them take on the biggest environmental challenges facing us all’, said Andrew Hall of Campaign for National Parks.