National Park Protector Award nominees

National Park Protector Awards 2023

The winners and runners up from the 2023 National Park Protector Awards ceremony in parliament

In an event hosted in Parliament on 12 July 2023 by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch, we met with incredible people who truly are at the heart of our Parks. From grassroots campaigning in Dartmoor to small-scale farming in local communities in Bannau Brycheiniog, this year’s National Park Protector Award nominees have shown a deep dedication to Protected Landscapes that deserve to be celebrated.

Winners for 2023

The winners of the National Park Nature Award 2023, sponsored by WWF-UK and presented by Landscape Minister Trudy Harrison, are:

South West Peatland Partnership, for landscape scale nature recovery – The South West Peatland Partnership is a collaboration between local and regional government agencies, charities, landowners, commoners, contractors and farmers working to restore over 2,500 hectares of degraded peatland across West Penwith, Bodmin Moor, Dartmoor and Exmoor by 2025.

And, Nick Sanderson, for community nature recovery – Just beyond the sailing boats and canoes at Barton Turf Adventure Centre in The Broads National Park, a muddy path leads visitors to a hidden nature reserve. Nick Sanderson saw the potential for the wonderful site and began an ongoing partnership with Centre Manager Di Smith, The Broads Authority and many other stakeholders. The aim was to provide low-cost outdoor experiences and make a real difference for nature.

This year’s National Park Nature Award runner up is:

Our Food 1200 / Ein Bwyd 1200 – Our Food 1200 is working to secure 1,200 acres of land across the region for modern regenerative horticulture, creating a network of small-scale commercial farms serving local communities.

This scale of change will be transformative, building the foundation for a vibrant low-carbon local food economy that reconnects people with the landscape and helps tackle the growing issue of food security. (Bannau Brycheiniog National Park)

Trudy Harrison MP with Morag Angus and Nick Sanderson

MP Trudy Harrison with Morag Angus and Nick Sanderson

winners of the National Park Nature Award 2023

South West Peatland Partnership and Nick Sanderson

The winner of the New Perspectives Award 2023, sponsored by Natural England and presented by its Programme Director Caroline Cotterell, is:

Sameed Asghar – Sameed is the founder of Summit Special, who are known as the BAME Mountain Leaders. He is one of the first UK-qualified mountain leaders who works full time introducing not just BAME groups but also those with several barriers to accessing the outdoors. Since 2005, he has volunteered for various charities and mosques trying to promote and organise their challenge events. Consequently, he has encouraged people to fundraise for good causes and has also introduced thousands of people from BAME backgrounds to the great outdoors. This has also led to a recent rise in affinity groups of people from these groups.

Runners-up for the New Perspectives Award are:

Echoes Within the Earth – Echoes Within the Earth is an inspiring initiative that has brought to life our connection with nature through the evocative power of dance.

Choreographed by the talented Chris Pavia, who became the first choreographer with Down’s Syndrome to make a dance piece for national touring, the work is inspired by Chris’ childhood experiences of woodland in the South Downs.

Roots to Recovery – Roots to Recovery is a people-led project about the restorative powers of Pembrokeshire’s amazing outdoors and especially its National Park.

Their activities are designed to be accessible, fun and sometimes relaxing, with the opportunity to learn new skills and meet new friends. A typical programme might include walks, arts and crafts, volunteering and more.

Sameed Asghar with Caroline Cotterell

Sameed Asghar with Caroline Cotterell

winner of the Changemaker of the Year Award 2023

Sameed Asghar

The winner of the Changemaker of the Year Award 2023, sponsored by Cotswold Outdoor, chosen in part by a public vote last month and presented by Alex Sobel, Labour Defra Minister is:

Matt Staniek / Save Windermere – Matt has been working tirelessly for two years to highlight the issue of water company pollution in Windermere and its impact on the water and wildlife in the lake.

Matt has built, from nothing, a movement that has steadily put a local issue onto the national stage. Around that he has expanded his campaign team, and on limited funds is furthering his reach by engaging with local communities and community events.

Runners-up for the Changemaker of the Year Award are:

The Stars Are for Everyone – The Stars Are for Everyone is an incredible grassroots campaign to protect the right to wild camp responsibly in the outdoors in Dartmoor National Park and extend that right to other National Parks in England and Wales. The campaign has grown out of the decision of a wealthy landowner to seek legally to stop people camping responsibly after decades of precedent and many more years of accepted access.

Virtual Walks Volunteers – The Virtual Walks programme is a fantastic initiative to enable everyone to access the North York Moors National Park. Four volunteers (Jim, Davy, David & Alison) record and prepare walks to present to groups who work with vulnerable adults who are either no longer able to get out or may not have the confidence to.

Matt Staniek

Matt Staniek

winner of the Changemaker of the Year Award 2023

Matt Staniek

Hear more about the winners and the 2023 award ceremony here.