History of National Parks

The National Park story is a fascinating tale of how a group of passionate campaigners joined together to ensure that their vision for National Parks was achieved.

The first National Park in the world was Yellowstone in the United States, which was established in 1872. It took some time before the official process of National Park designation took place in the UK.  During the early 20th century, following years of industrialisation and the growth of urban settlements, people began to call for greater access to the countryside.  The 1932 Kinder Mass Trespass was a key turning point in the fight for countryside access, and soon the campaigns for access and National Parks were to become inextricably linked.

The outbreak of war delayed, but did not stop the campaign for National Parks. In May 1945 John Dower’s White Paper on National Parks reflected the mood of the post war country – our finest landscapes needed protection for current and future generations to enjoy.

In 1949, legislation was passed that enabled the designation of National Parks. The Peak District became the first National Park to be designated in 1951.