Six National Park projects shortlisted for prestigious Park Protector Award

Throughout England and Wales, there are projects that are having a significant impact on preserving the beauty, cultural heritage and biodiversity of our 13 National Parks. Six of these fantastic projects have been shortlisted for the Campaign for National Parks’ Park Protector Award

This Award recognises, rewards and celebrates exceptional projects that are making a lasting contribution to the protection, restoration or conservation of the National Parks of England and Wales. It is generously sponsored by Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust.

The Duke of Burgundy © Neil Hulme (left) and Fen Raft Spider © Fen Raft Spider project (right)

The projects have been shortlisted by the judging panel from 26 excellent nominations, all of which are ensuring local communities are involved in looking after National Parks. The winning project will be announced in October and will receive a £2,000 grant.

Caroline Quentin, our new President said, “Learning about all of the fantastic projects happening across the National Parks has been a wonderful way to start as President. These projects are the perfect demonstration of how much people care about National Parks and want to improve them for the future.”

Jeremy Colls from the Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust added, “The impressive projects showcase a great variety of the work being done in National Parks. The overriding message is the remarkable level of volunteer commitment that is evident among the groups taking part. Many people really do care about maintaining and improving our rural environment, and convert their passion into action to achieve tangible results.”

The shortlist

Arun and Rother Connections Project – South Downs National Park

Butterfly Conservation Sussex Branch – South Downs National Park

Fen Raft Spider Project – The Broads

Heritage at Risk – Northumberland National Park

Path Watchers Volunteer Group – Exmoor National Park

Wyddfa Lân/ Snowdon Tidy Initiative – Snowdonia National Park

Riverfly volunteers studying invertrebrates © ARC/John Dominick Photography (left) and Volunteers © Heritage at Risk project (right)

More about the projects

1.2 million people use the water that filters through the chalk of the South Downs on a daily basis. The Arun and Rother Connections project works with over 1,000 volunteers to run a diverse suite of activities which promote a rich, thriving river system, where wildlife flourishes and people value and enjoy the landscape.

In 2003, just eight Duke of Burgundy butterflies were seen in Sussex. Working tirelessly on increasing the numbers of these beautiful creatures, the Butterfly Conservation Sussex Branch project has helped their numbers rise exponentially with 1,487 seen in 2016.

The Fen Raft Spider is one of our rarest and most beautiful spiders. Pioneering methods of obtaining DNA from moulted skins and new test tube rearing techniques, the Fen Raft Spider project has revolutionised studies on all endangered invertebrates, saving the species from the brink of extinction.

Over 55% of ancient monuments within Northumberland National Park are at risk of a decline in their condition. The Heritage at Risk project has successfully removed 12% of monuments from the risk register, meaning future generations will be able to revel in the history of Northumberland National Park’s fantastic archaeological sites.

The Exmoor Path Watchers Volunteer Group is passionate about making sure the Park’s rights of way are the best in the country. They carry out small maintenance work such as trimming trees and repainting signs and report bigger issues. The result is paths on Exmoor that are well cared for and easily navigable.

There are over 500,000 visitors to Snowdon each year but unfortunately litter can often blight this incredible mountain. The Wyddfa Lân/ Snowdon Tidy Initiative collects hundreds of bags of litter each year, as well as trying to change people’s behaviour to stop them from littering on Snowdon.

Volunteers © Snowdon Tidy (left) and Volunteers © Path Watchers (right)