Seventy years young – the nation’s first national park


The Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA) is about
to become 70. Barrie Farnsworth looks at its birth, what the
authority has done since then – and its future challenges.

THE Peak District National Park is 70 years old this spring – being the first of Britain’s 15 parks to be founded in 1951.

It covers some of the finest 555 square miles in the whole of England, as we all know, but is also the only national park to own a pub! Even better, more than one-third of the park is now open access land, which means it is accessible to walkers without having to stick to footpaths.

Fewer than 40,000 people live inside its boundaries but, such is its appeal, the park has well over 13 MILLION visitors every year.

And it’s not just the amazing landscapes – and the 65 miles of fabulous cycling and walking trails that the authority maintains that attract those visitors. It has some of the finest towns and villages – there are a staggering 109 conservation areas in Peak Park settlements, specially protected for their character, architecture and history. There are nearly 500 scheduled historic monuments and an equally staggering 2,900 listed buildings, including stately homes like Chatsworth and Haddon Hall…