2018 Park Protector shortlist announced!

31 August 2018

Campaign for National Parks has unveiled the shortlist for the 2018 Park Protector Award. Five projects ranging from teaching angling skills to young people in the North York Moors to restoring woodland in the New Forest represent the top nominees as selected by the judging panel.

The shortlisted projects are as follows:

·         Helping hands – Snowdonia National Park - Volunteers have put in nearly 11,000 hours since 2015 to make a huge difference to the popular and special landscapes of Snowdonia. Whether it is maintaining the well-used footpaths or engaging school groups, cubs and beavers, this project is not only making a difference to one of Wales’ National Parks but also provides training and accreditation to its volunteers.

·         Pondhead trust - New Forest National Park - This, the first and only community woodland project in the New Forest, has huge ambitions – to restore 200 acres of neglected Crown woodland. Among its many achievements the project has provided new tranquil areas for visitors, habitat for butterflies and re-introduced charcoal making to the National Park.

Returning charcoal making to the New Forest

The Pondhead Trust have returned traditional charcoal making to the New Forest. Photo credit: Pondhead Trust.

·         Discovering the Esk - North York Moors National Park - With a hands-on approach to conservation, Discovering the Esk works with schools and angling clubs to inspire people of all ages to protect and conserve the River Esk. Its activities include monitoring water quality, learning angling skills and even exploring the life cycle of salmon in a classroom fish tank.

·         Opening up Emsworthy Mire – Dartmoor National Park - Bogs and mires can be impenetrable to visitors and difficult to manage. But the hard work of volunteers as part of this scheme has opened up one of Dartmoor’s incredible mires to wildlife and to visitors, laying five kilometres of trails - allowing everyone to experience this diverse landscape full of rare bugs, birds and other beasts.

·         White Peak woodlands - Peak District National Park - The steep sided dales of the White Peak include nationally important habitats under serious danger. Staff and volunteers on this project have been working to increase the structure and diversity of the woodland in this area to make it more resilient to future threats, boost wildlife and champion new conservation methods.

Lending a helping hand in Snowdonia

Helping Hands Snowdonia is one of the shortlisted projects. Photo credit: Snowdonia Society.

Andrew Hall of Campaign for National Parks said: “This tremendous shortlist reflects the incredible quality of applicants and the dedication of people across from across England and Wales to their National Parks. The Parks face many challenges, but each year the Park Protector Award reminds me of the depth of feeling out there for England and Wales’ best landscapes.”

The winning project will be announced at a parliamentary reception in October and will receive a £2,000 boost to its work, a highly commended prize of £500 will also be awarded. The parliamentary reception will be attended by Julian Glover who is leading the Government’s review into England’s designated landscapes.

The Award is once again supported by Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust. Stephen Ross of the Trust said “the projects presented this year for the Park Protector Award once again covered a diverse range from conservation to improving access and discovery of forgotten land management techniques. The applications demonstrated the passion of volunteers who are prepared to give up their energy and time to add to the joy of others who visit our National Parks.”