Campaign for National Parks welcomes two new trustees

  • Contributor information: CNP

Campaign for National Parks has welcomed two new trustees to its board – Sue Beaumont and Kate Ashbrook. It follows the departure of two long-standing trustees Nick Holliday and Anna Bedford.

Their appointment was confirmed at Campaign for National Parks’ Council and Annual General Meeting on 25 November 2021

Janette Ward, Chair of Executive of Campaign for National Parks, said: “We’d like to also thank both Nick and Anna for their contributions over the years and are sorry to see them leave. We’re fortunate to be able to welcome Sue and Kate to the team following an open recruitment process.

“Sue brings a wealth of experience and – as a trustee with Snowdonia Society – brings a welcome Welsh National Park perspective to the board, while Kate is a long-time friend and supporter of Campaign for National Parks, a tenacious campaigner and vocal advocate of outdoor spaces and access. Kate has previously been a trustee and we’re really pleased to be able to welcome her back.”

Sue Beaumont

Sue moved to North Wales after a career in international cultural relations in the British Council and now lives in Snowdonia National Park.

She tells us a bit more about her background and why she got involved: “My work with the British Council took me to the Middle East, Asia and Africa. One of the first things I did from my new home in Snowdonia National Park was to walk the Cambrian Way from Cardiff to Conwy over many mountains and through incredible areas of wilderness and great beauty and cultural heritage, ranging from the coal mining valleys of the south, to the mighty quarries of the north. And, of course, everywhere, I could see the deep connection of the land with generations of farming.

“Like so many others, my parents inspired in me a love of nature. My teenage days were spent learning about pond ecology and volunteering for the National Trust on their Acorn weeks during the summer holidays in the Peak District and Lake District. I also developed my lifelong passion for walking and for me national parks have provided inspiration and a sense of freedom as well as a haven for contemplation and reflection. When working in London I often headed for the Brecon Beacons at weekends thankful for their relative accessibility. 

“More recently I became a trustee of the Snowdonia Society which does so much amazing work through volunteers to help conserve different habitats, maintain paths and keep them free from litter, and influence the future direction of the Park. The Snowdonia Society led to my involvement with Campaign for National Parks embracing the family of National Parks in England and Wales, each with distinct characteristics yet all facing today’s intertwined challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss.  

“I am hugely excited about joining the Campaign for National Parks board at a time of almost universal concern and desire for action in tackling these challenges. I look forward to further strengthening Campaign for National Parks’ relationships in Wales and the furthering opportunities opened up by the Welsh Government’s recent commitment to a new National Park in the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley, and its declaration of a ‘nature emergency.’  In both Wales and England there remains work to do to enshrine commitments into legislation.”

Kate Ashbrook

Kate, who lives in Chilterns AONB, has been General Secretary of the Open Spaces Society for 37 years. She volunteers as trustee (and former Chair) of The Ramblers, trustee of the Dartmoor Preservation Society, and patron of the Walkers Are Welcome Towns network.

Kate, who recently spoke passionately at the National Park Societies Conference in North York Moors, explains her deep love for National Parks: “I fell in love with Dartmoor as a teenager, met Sylvia Sayer, a vice-president of the standing committee and patron of the Dartmoor Preservation Association (DPA), and learnt a great deal about campaigning for national parks, and Dartmoor in particular, from her. I first got involved in Campaign for National Parks in the 1980s, when I applied for the job of director (now CEO). Fiona Reynolds was appointed. It was then the Council for National Parks.

“I have served on the CNP board for 36 years, six of them as chair, but took a break, enforced by the articles, in 2019. I am delighted to be back. It will be lovely to be working with like-minded colleagues to lead and support the pressure-group for National Parks. These landscapes are vital to our nations, providing refreshment and relaxation, inspiration and challenge. We have so much to do to enable them to be enjoyed by all, while retaining their wildness and culture, and improving their biodiversity.

“It’s a vital moment for us, to ensure that our aspirations are met in these troubled times, despite the foot-dragging of the Westminster government on the Glover recommendations.  We must build a new movement to champion the parks and rekindle the spirit of the pioneers who created them.  I can’t wait to start!”