Gordon Buchanan joins Bill Bryson, Emma Bridgewater and others in National Parks fight

  • Contributor information: CNP

29 April 2019

Wildlife TV presenter Gordon Buchanan has joined 16 other celebrities in calling for big change in our National Parks. The names, including Bill Bryson, Carol Vorderman and Caroline Quentin are demanding action from Government to more than double the number of school children visiting the National Parks each year.

Over 60,000 school children visit the National Parks each year, however the Government has long promised to increase this number. In an open letter sent to Secretary of State Michael Gove over Easter Weekend [found below], the well-known names also including Emmerdale actor Nick Miles, potter Emma Bridgewater and the former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion, say that inspiring the next generation to look after the natural world is imperative to meet society’s environmental challenges.

Actress and president of Campaign for National Parks, Caroline Quentin said: “In this letter we’ve said very clearly that now is the time to take real action to get more children into the beautiful National Parks. I want school children to be inspired to love nature, adventure and the beauty of the countryside. As anyone who has visited the wilds of Exmoor or the Lake District knows, the National Parks are well placed to do this.”

Photo credit: New Forest National Park Authority

Connecting with nature in the New Forest. Photo credit: New Forest National Park Authority.

The charities behind the letter are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Act of Parliament that created National Parks, as some of the original organisations that came together to found them. 70 years on from the legislation, Campaign for National Parks, Campaign to Protect Rural England, the Open Spaces Society, Ramblers and the YHA are calling for Government action to safeguard their future.

Signatory Stuart Maconie, president of the Ramblers, said: “Being able to get out and about in the National Parks really can make a huge difference. Inspiring the next generation and giving them a love for getting outdoors will create a generation that wants to protect these incredible landscapes for the future and will benefit their future mental and physical wellbeing, helping them to thrive.”

Despite previous promises, years of government inaction has meant previous promises to increase the number of school visits to the National Parks have not been fulfilled, denying this enjoyment to tens of thousands of our school children.

“For many of the school children who currently visit the National Parks it is their first time experiencing truly dark skies, fresh air and adventure in beautiful countryside. The National Parks contain some of the country’s most important spaces including ancient heritage sites, spectacular waterfalls and important wildlife.”

“One only needs to look at the inspiring work of Greta Thunberg to know that school children can be a fierce advocate for the environment. Given the seriousness of the environmental challenges we face, we have to give the next generation a fighting chance. That starts with inspiring them to love the natural world and our National Parks are well placed to do just that.” Said Andrew Hall of Campaign for National Parks. 

You can make a difference by joining Campaign for National Parks. 

Click here to read the full open letter