Park protector awards 2019

Park Protector Awards 2011-2019

The National Park Protector Awards (formerly known as the Park Protector Awards) has run since 2011. Here are the amazing projects and individuals who have won the award.

The annual National Park Protector Awards has run since 2011, and although the Awards have changed and grown over the years, they have always been a vital opportunity to recognise and reward the hard work of people who are at the heart of our Parks.

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Winners from 2019 - 2011


Park Protector Award presented by Lord Gardiner

Winner: SWEPT

A project measuring water pollution levels in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. The project trained volunteers to measure nutrient pollution, agricultural run-off, marine litter, non-native species and other pollution threats, protecting both land and water habitats. Volunteers used surveys to generate more than 2,100 photos, 847 water sample test results for both nitrate and phosphate pollution, and information on marine litter, non-natives and other pollution threats such as oil or fly tipping. 

Sue Burton, from the project said: “We feel incredibly honoured that our project could be awarded the 2019 Park Protector Award, especially considering all the worthy projects shortlisted.  It is testament to all those out there that not only care about their patch but feel urged to take action to do something positive rather than simply stand by and watch the degradation that is happening all around us.” 

Winner: People and the Dales

People and the Dales, from the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT), introduces under-represented communities to the Yorkshire Dales National Park, including asylum seekers and inner city communities. The project stood out to judges for its work connecting people and place at a time when that relationship is at risk. More than 10,000 people have taken part in People and the Dales, which has previously been recognised for its work with BAME groups, refugees and asylum seekers. 

Judy Rodgers, YDMT Community Development Worker, said: “It is a pleasure to receive this award on behalf of all the refugees and asylum seekers we have worked with over the last 10 years. It has been amazing working with such resilient, hardworking and cheerful people despite the trauma and adversity they have experienced. Their stories have enriched my life and the lives of those that they have met.” 

The Awards come midway through the government’s Year of Green Action: the year people, business’ and organisations pledge to take the actions needed to reverse decades of environmental decline, connect people to nature and set the foundations for achieving the goals set out in Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan. 

Park protector awards 2019

2019 Park Protector Awards


Park Protector Award sponsored by Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust and presented by Caroline Quentin, Campaign for National Parks President (2016-2019)

Winner: Opening Up Emsworthy Mire

A Devon Wildlife Trust project across South Devon and Dartmoor creating 5km of new trails within the Emsworthy Mire nature reserve. The trails stretched over a mix of habitats including woodland, rocky upland, pastures and Dartmoor’s iconic granite tors. The project gave many more people access to the landscape and to the wildlife including one of Devon’s largest breeding populations of snipe, marsh fritillary butterflies and rare species of lichen. 

Caroline Quentin said: “Opening up Emsworthy Mire is a wonderful project, and I am delighted to see them receive the top prize of this year’s Park Protector Award.” 

Runner Up: Helping Hands, Eryri Society – Eryri National Park

This project uses an army of volunteers to look after some of the most famous landscapes in Wales. The Breedon Group also generously supported the highly commended Award. 

Devon wildlife trust receiving the 2018 Park Protector Award from Baroness Whitaker, Julian Glover and Caroline Quentin

2018 Park Protector Award Winner Devon Wildlife Trust with Baroness Whitaker, Julian Glover and Caroline Quentin


Park Protector Award sponsored by Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust and presented by Lord Gardiner

Winner: Moors for the Future Community Science Project – Peak District National Park

A community science project enabling local communities to identify and record wildlife on internationally important blanket bogs across the Peak District National Park and the South Pennines. Blanket bogs are important habitat for species such as otter, butterflies and migratory birds. The project enabled the Moors for the Future partnership to gather vital data, helping to shape projects to protect these species for the future.  

Sarah Proctor of the project said: “Moors for the Future Partnership’s Community Science team are delighted to have won the 2017 Park Protector Award and would like to thank Campaign for National Parks on behalf of our volunteers, partners and Heritage Lottery Fund, by whom the project is supported. Enabling local communities and visitors to identify, record and monitor the wildlife of the internationally important blanket bog habitats in the Peak District National Park and South Pennines, is a great way to build and share our understanding of this landscape. This insight will help us better protect important habitats and species now and in the future. Winning this award will help us reach new volunteers and funders and allow us to buy more equipment to support our wildlife surveys, including monitoring otters, mink and water voles in and around the Park.” 

Highly commended: Explorers Club – North York Moors National Park

This project provides hands-on conservation experience to families over a six-month period in the North York Moors. Everything is geared up towards the family with those as young as two able to use special equipment to take part and contribute to landscape and habitat conservation in the Park. 

Tammy Andrews of the Explorers Club said: “It was a lovely surprise to be highly commended in this year’s Park Protector Award. I am incredibly proud of the Explorer Club families and all they have achieved since the project began in 2012. It is a privilege working alongside such enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers. Being shortlisted for the Award was fantastic but to be presented with this special award is the icing on the cake! The grant will enable us to purchase some more child size tools in order to increase the number of practical conservation tasks the families can get involved with.” 

Shortlisted: River Barle Signal Crayfish Project – Exmoor National Park

This project aims to conserve native crayfish and the wider River Barle ecosystem through monitoring and even sterilising the invasive signal crayfish caught by trained volunteers. Capturing the controlling this damaging species is a big challenge but the hard work has been richly rewarded with a healthier ecosystem in the River Barle. 

Shortlisted: Fell Care Days – Lake District National Park

Fell Care Days provides volunteers with the opportunity to contribute to cultural and natural conservation work in the Lake District. Thousands of volunteers have maintained kilometres of footpaths, planted hundreds of native trees and even built three bridges! 

Shortlisted: Pembrokeshire Marine Code – Pembrokeshire Coast National Park 

The Marine Code hopes to inspire landowners, visitor and businesspeople to respect the precious coastal ecosystem of Pembrokeshire. This project has trained thousands in sustainable practices and developed an app to reference the code of conduct while out and about in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. 

Explorers Club, North York Moors, receiving the high commendation from minister for National Parks, Lord Gardiner and John Showell the Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust

Explorers Club receiving the high commendation from minister for National Parks, Lord Gardiner and John Showell of the Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust


Park Protector Award sponsored by Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust and presented by Barry Southwell, their Chair 

Winner: Arun and Rother Connections – South Downs National Park

A partnership between seven organisations working to promote a rich and thriving river system in the South Downs National Park. The citizen science project involved over 1,100 volunteers in the creation and restoration of precious chalk streams and wetland in the Arun and Rother catchments. 

One of the goals of the project is to make as many people as possible ‘citizen scientists’ by protecting this precious and valuable part of the South Downs. Local residents have created rain gardens designed to reduce flood risks and provide a habitat for pollinators. Individuals living in the river catchment have also used an app developed by the project to easily record the plants and wildlife they have seen in their green spaces. 

Shortlisted nominees: 

Butterfly Conservation Sussex Branch – South Downs National Park

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. 

Fen Raft Spider Project – The Broads

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. 

Heritage at Risk – Northumberland National Park

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. 

Path Watchers Volunteer Group – Exmoor National Park

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. 

Wyddfa Lân/ Snowdon Tidy Initiative – Eryri National Park

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. 

From left to right - Fran Southgate of Sussex Wildlife Trust, Rachel Carless of RSPB, Margaret Paren of South Downs National Park Authority, Caroline Quentin, Barry Southwell, Carole Nicholson of Sussex Wildlife Trust at the 2016 Park Protector Awards


Park Protector Award sponsored by Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust and presented by Annette Cotter, Ramblers Worldwide Holidays Chair

Winner: Fell Futures – Lake District National Park

A project by the Lake District National Park Authority working to address a nationally identified skills shortage in rural conservation and landscape management skills. The project helped train 12 apprentices and 30 volunteers in skills such as dry-stone walling, habitat conservation, forestry, lime mortaring and upland stone pitching. Fell Futures has a 100 per cent track record of getting apprentices into employment with 80% working in Cumbria. The initiative has seen 5,350 days committed by apprentices, volunteers and members of the public, delivering practical heritage projects valued at £260,000. 

Matthew Eaves, volunteer and apprentice coordinator from the Lake District National Park Authority said, “Winning the award was a real boost, for myself and for the National Park Authority. It acted as an external seal of approval for our hard work, something to show off about and an opportunity to tell everyone about the benefits of volunteers and apprentices. We have used the prize money to provide extra uniforms, waterproofs and tools for the volunteers.” 

Future Fells

Winners of the 2015 Park Protector Awards Fell Futures


Park Protector Award sponsored by Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust and HF Holidays

Making the Small Things Count

A project in Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks celebrating the rare lichens, mosses and liverworts for which the Atlantic woodland in this area is internationally important. The project delivered in partnership with Plantlife and the Mendip Hills, Quantocks and North Devon Coast Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, raised awareness through educational resources, public engagement and through the development of England’s first Lichen Apprenticeship Scheme which trained over 30 trainees in lichen identification. 

Felicity Harris, Plantlife’s Head of Outreach, said: “Winning the 2014 Campaign for National Park’s Park Protector Awards has enabled us to run a highly successful and well received photographic competition and series of exhibitions motivating entrants not only to get out and explore Exmoor and Dartmoor, but allowing the many visitors to these areas to gain a better understanding of these areas and enhance their experience when out and about.” 

Runner up: North Yorkshire Moors Buildings at Risk app

A National Park Authority-run citizen science project to gather new data on listed heritage buildings within the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. The project was scaled up nationally by English Heritage following this pilot study. Beth Davies, North York Moors National Park Authority listed building officer and project coordinator, said the cost effective and efficient scheme had been a great success – “The success of the app and the use of volunteers will revolutionise how this data is collected and make nationwide collection feasible,” she said. 


Park Protector Award sponsored by Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust and HF Holidays

Winner: Woollen Lines – Bannau Brycheiniog National Park

A project in Bannau Brycheiniog National Park to protect and restore seven hectares of fire damaged peatland. Local artist Pip Woolf worked with local schools and community groups to lay 2,700 meters of felted wool sheets. The woollines protects the damaged peatland from further erosion and allows new plants to seed and grow. The wool also provides nutrients to help plants break down into peat to restore the peatland to health.  

Pip Woolf says – “Hundreds of people helped create the Woollen line, first a single line in 2010 and by 2012 eight more woolly lines.  I personally feel delighted at the recognition by winning the Park Protector award that will undoubtedly deepen the commitment to grow continuing lines of connection across the uplands of the Brecon Beacons National Park.” 

Shortlisted nominees: 

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust weekend Volunteers – Peak District National Park 

Hay Time – Yorkshire Dales National Park 

Traditional Estates Craft Apprenticeship Project (TECAP) – North York Moors National Park 

The John Muir Award in Cumbria – Lake District National Park 


Park Protector Award

Winner: Traditional Boundaries; Traditional Skills – Northumberland National Park

A programme in Northumberland National Park combines job creation with conservation and equips local people with the skills needed to start up their own businesses.