Outdoor Pursuits and Government Protected Areas in the UK – Part 2

The creation of huge areas of land in the United Kingdom has enabled large numbers of the population to use their free time to explore the wilderness that is available on their door step. This has provided a great variety of holidays for both domestic and international visitors, who make up the 110 million tourists that these areas receive each year.

Many of the people who visit these areas are day visitors and this is especially true of the domestic market. Compared to other countries in the world the United Kingdom is small so many of its parks are accessible to a large percent of its population on a day visit.

Cyclists enjoying Dartmoor

Also, many people will take holidays to certain areas of the country and make a visit to a park just for maybe one or two days. Many people take holidays to Devon and Cornwall and will mix visiting the region’s beaches with day trips to Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks.

The beauty of the thirteen parks is that they protect a wide variety of landscapes and this means that a number of very different outdoor pursuits can take place. Each Park will offer them all but certain parks will offer different levels of attractions.

For example, those people who enjoy the mountains are likely to head off to Snowdonia National Park, which was established in 1951. The Park covers an area of 2140 square kilometers including 60 kilometers of coastline.  The center piece is Snowdon Mountain but the vastness of the area means that activities that can be enjoyed include walking, cycling, running, climbing and water based activities.

The parks popularity is also boosted by the educational significance of the park. It is one of the few areas of the UK that has been glaciated and many glaciated features remain today. Many students visit these geographical features as part of an outdoor activities based visit.

While Snowdon may be ideal for some people others may enjoy the attractions that are enjoyed in the other parks and this is essential for the successful management of the parks. The Lake District attracts more visitors to its Park than any other with over 16 million people spending time enjoying the different array of activities the park offers’

This brings great economic benefit to the region and the country’s largest park is able to offer mountain landscapes with numerous lakes. Whatever activity people wish to do they are likely to be well provided for when visiting the region.

Problems of path erosion in the Lake District

However, the success of the park has resulted in its own problems. Around 90% of visitors arrive by car and this has caused much congestion problems on the local roads. Another problem has been parking the cars and some people park on the sides of the narrow roads, making them even narrower.

Some of the walks are so popular that many of the footpaths are constantly being worn away. The park does its best to manage them but in an area of so much rainfall it is at times an impossible task trying to stop this damage.

The more popular the area the more damage is caused and the park is constantly trying to redirect people and cyclists into certain areas. However, these issues have only been caused by the success of the parks. The biggest concern would be that they were not attracting people.

The UK government by designating specially protected areas has inadvertently created a population who enjoy outdoor pursuits. This is of great benefit to the country as it now has a healthier population.