A fond farewell to Campaign for National Parks

11 December 2019

As Caroline Quentin comes to the end of her term as president she reflects on her time at Campaign for National Parks.

Being president is always an odd position, somewhat ceremonial and yet with the potential to make a huge difference to a charity like Campaign for National Parks. It has been an honour over the past three years to be president of Campaign for National Parks, a charity with a huge amount of heart as well as a vitally important job.

I have always loved our National Parks. Those wide open spaces, the intricate tapestry of nature unfurling itself at my feet, incredible dark skies and a real opportunity for adventure.

My beloved Exmoor has always been important to me. Like so many others I have walked, laughed and created so many happy memories on its stunning moors.

Campaign for National Parks was born in 1936 to fight to establish protections for Exmoor and the other areas of outstanding countryside that would become the family of National Parks. This year it has been a pleasure to help Campaign for National Parks bring to life this history as we celebrate 70 years since an Act of Parliament gave us these special places.

 

 

One of the reasons I was drawn to Campaign for National Parks was the charity’s work improving accessibility to the National Parks. Catching the tail end of the well-known MOSAIC project when I started, Campaign for National Parks has taken forward its’ legacy to fight for car-free access to the National Parks and call for every single child to be given the chance to enjoy the National Parks. Something I am proud to support.

But the charity does so much more beside this. In my time, Campaign for National Parks has really led the way on some of the biggest and trickiest issues of the day. Restoring nature is essential to the future of the National Parks. I have been delighted to attend Campaign for National Park’s Park Protector Award on a number of occasions, these awards celebrating the very best conservation projects making a difference in the National Parks.

Caroline Quentin with the Snowdonia Society.

And when the charity has had to fight it has. Unfortunately, my tenure as president also saw a number of inappropriate developments planned for the National Parks, but wherever these developments have threatened the very principles underscoring our National Park system, Campaign for National Parks has been there to fight them.

Caroline has had a lot of fun as President including Kayaking in Exmoor. 

What I will remember most about being part of the extraordinary National Parks movement is the commitment and enthusiasm of all those involved. From learned council members imparting the wisdom of previous campaigns to the men and women who live in the National Parks, are fighting for better representation of their communities and who feel so passionately that these are places for everyone to enjoy. It’s not always easy working at a charity with such a big remit but the staff at Campaign for National Parks are relentless.

Stepping down as president I know the future for Campaign for National Parks should be a bright one, despite the challenges. It’s an incredibly exciting time for our countryside, with new designations and new ways of managing our countryside being proposed by our politicians. Campaign for National Parks has been bringing together the many organisations and individuals who have an important role shaping the future of the beloved National Parks. Taking forward the charity’s vision of National Parks that are alive with people, protected from threats and accessible to everyone.

With your help Campaign for National Parks will be the beating heart of a renewed movement for our National Parks. My time is over but the story for Campaign for National Parks begins a new chapter.

By Caroline Quentin,

Outgoing President of Campaign for National Parks