Park Protector Awards 2021

The Park Protector Awards recognise the incredible work done by organisations and volunteers throughout our National Parks.

National Parks in England and Wales saw huge increases in visitors in between lockdowns in 2020 which brought many challenges but also opportunities to our National Parks – that our award winners and many others seized to transform their approach to caring for the landscape and engaging with residents and visitors.

Winners for 2021

The winner of the main Park Protector Award 2021, sponsored by Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust and was:

Safer Lakes – Through a huge partnership effort with local emergency services, landowners, conservation charities and a growing army of volunteers, Safer Lakes enabled the Lake District National Park to better deal with issues which overwhelmed other beauty spots – from littering and wild camping to irresponsible car parking and fires. The Lake District National Park Authority also sped-up efforts to introduce an electric vehicle fleet and installed solar-panelled cameras into car parks to provide live updates of how busy the car parks were via a new website, something that was adopted elsewhere in the UK.

The Main Park Protector Award runners-up 2021 were:

Moors for the Future Partnership – A partnership in Peak District National Park managed to adapt and innovate to continue with their efforts restoring 6.74 km2 of peatland which boosted biodiversity, benefitting local wildlife, as well as directly impacting local water quality, reducing flood and fire risk and improving carbon capture to tackle climate change.

Be Wild Buckfastleigh – A grass-roots project which connected families and older people to nature and wildlife in Dartmoor National Park. Local families were engaged with nature and wildlife, and the health and wellbeing benefits of this, through online activity including an active Facebook group and vibrant YouTube channel (with DVD copies being made for families who weren’t online).

The winner of the Volunteer of the Year Award 2021, sponsored by Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust, chosen by public vote was:

Rod Gentry, South Downs National Park Alongside being a Forestry England volunteer – Rod managed the Friends of the Friston Forest Facebook page, fostering a sense of community amongst diverse user groups of the forest from runners and horse riders to cyclists and dog walkers. He was instrumental in balancing the needs of visitors with the needs of wildlife during this busy time and fostering a desire to look after the forest amongst visitors.

Runners-up for Volunteer of the Year Award 2021 were:

David Bird (Eryri National Park) 

Jess Davison (Northumberland National Park) 

Vicky Pearson (Pembrokeshire Coast National Park) 

David Bream (North York Moors National Park)

Hear more about the nominees, winners and the 2021 awards ceremony here.