South Downs National ParkThe South Downs are a range of chalk hills within the south-eastern coastal counties of England from the Itchen Valley of Hampshire to Beachy Head in East Sussex.
Owing to their natural beauty, accessibility, and relative proximity to several populous area of Southern England the South Down National Park was the most popular national park in the Great Britain; receiving 2.31 million visitors in 2019.
Lake District National ParkThe Lake District National Park, colloquially known as The Lakes, is a mountainous region within the county of Cumbria in the North West of England. As the largest national park within England, the Lake District exhibits diverse terrain and cultural heritage and contains a wide variety of flora and fauna. As a result of this depth of cultural and natural resources the Lake District is one of the most popular tourist destinations in England; consistently receiving over two million visitors annually.
As the greatest upland region in England, all of the land within England more than 914 m above sea level lies within the Lake district National Park, including the highest mountain in England; Scafell Pike. In addition to the superlative mountainous characteristics the Lake District contains both the deepest and largest natural bodies of water in England. These natural resources make the Lake District national park extremely popular amongst climbers and mountaineers; ramblers; photographers; and water sports enthusiasts and other outdoor enthusiasts.
Alongside these diverse natural resources there exists a wealth of cultural history including a deep literary history, with its associations with Beatrix Potter, John Ruskin, William Wordsworth and other ‘Lake Poets’.
SnowdoniaSnowdonia (Eryri) National Park, was established in 1951 as the first national park in Wales is the country’s most popular national park receiving over 1.1 million visitors in 2019.
The region is named, in English, in reference to Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa); the highest peak within the National Park which, at 1,085 meters above sea level, is the highest mountain within Wales, England and Northern Ireland.
As one of few regions of alpine topography in the United Kingdom (UK), Snowdonia is particularly popular amongst climbers and mountaineers. In addition to its mountainous terrain Snowdonia also contains over 200 miles of coastline, much of which exists on the Llyn Peninsular, a region designated as an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ by Natural Resources Wales.
There is a strong cultural affinity amongst the local population; many of whom are among the nations few remaining first language welsh speakers. Within Snowdonia the Welsh language (Cymraeg) is the day to day language and is spoken and understood by the majority of the population.
With English sovereignty over Wales imposed within Henry VIII’s Act of Union in 1536, the use of the Welsh language was largely banned and laws were passed which removed its official status. Following the act it was not possible for a monoglot Welshman to hold an official office in Wales; a condition that remains to this day.
From the 1847 ‘Treachery of the Blue Books’, a government report that condemned “the evil of the Welsh language” as a “barrier to the moral progress and commercial prosperity of the people”, to the nineteenth century ‘Welsh Not’, which physically punished schoolchildren for speaking their native tongue, the Welsh language has been systematically and consistently oppressed throughout welsh history.
This perceived oppression led to the development of a number of significant public campaigns which successfully prevented the extinction of the Welsh language and today the language plays a major part in national and local government, education, tourism, administration and culture. The main cultural festivals are the National Eisteddfod and the Urdd Youth Eisteddfod which celebrate the wealth of Welsh talent in music, poetry, drama, prose, art and science. Throughout Snowdonia National Park there are many galleries, theatres, museums, concert halls and libraries to host and support the hundreds of Welsh language cultural activities that take place in the region each year