Photos relive the fight to establish National Parks

  • Contributor information: CNP

5 April 2019

As part of 70th anniversary celebrations, five charities central to the campaigns that established the National Parks have updated vintage photos of the National Parks.

Behold ye Ramblers!

Top: 1920s Ramblers pose for a picture. Photo credit: Ramblers Association.

Bottom: Modern Ramblers pose at the top of Hollins Cross in the Peak District. Photo credit: John Bradley.

The historic photos, from the 1920’s, 30s and 40’s, show the determined mass-movement campaign to protect the countryside for its’ beauty and recreational opportunities. This protection was eventually achieved in an Act of Parliament in 1949 that established the National Parks. The new photographs reflect the rich diversity of users of the National Parks nowadays.

Mountain Trike users overlooking the Peak District

Top: 1930’s walkers overlook the beautiful Peak District. Photo credit: Friends of the Peak District

Bottom: Mountain Trike users update the photo overlooking the Hope Valley. Photo credit Calum McGregor

Tomo Thompson, CEO of Friends of the Peak District – the organisation that supplied many of the original photos commented: “We had a fantastic time updating these photos. The 70th anniversary of the National Parks is a great opportunity to further the important work being done to open the National Parks for everyone to enjoy regardless of background or ability.”

Top: Walkers look over the valley of Edale in the Peak District. Photo credit: R Chaney

Bottom: Members of the Peak District Mosaic Group update the photo in the same valley. Photo credit: John Bradley.  

The images were updated on a celebratory walk in the Peak District National Park on 22 March attended by hundreds of individuals and organisations. Celebrations were filmed for BBC’s Countryfile.

The coalition of charities is made up of Campaign for National Parks, CPRE, Open Spaces Society, Ramblers and the Youth Hostel Association. They hope to draw attention to the challenges currently facing our National Parks as well as celebrating this extraordinary historic achievement.

The 13 National Parks in England and Wales face a number of challenges including threats from development and a need to improve access to the Parks so everyone can enjoy them.

Top: Members of the National Park Commission in the 1940s including Pauline Dower (left). Photo credit: LJ Watson

Bottom: Members of OutdoorLads, a Gay, Bi and Trans outdoor group updating the photo. Photo credit: John Bradley.

Andrew Hall of Campaign for National Parks said: “The Prime Minister herself called the establishment of the National Parks one of the crowning achievements of the environment movement in the last 100 years and she’s absolutely right.”

“Our photographers have done an amazing job of capturing just how much the National Parks mean to so many different people, Visitors to the National Parks enjoy a host of benefits to mental health and wellbeing, as well as boosting the local economies. But too many people cannot get to or get around the National Parks to realise these benefits.”

“On behalf of the millions of us who enjoy the Parks and the millions more who would love to, we are calling on Government to mark the 70th anniversary of the Act that created the National Parks with action to make them truly accessible for everyone to enjoy”, continued Hall.

Top: Tom Stephenson leads MP’s including Barbara Castle on a walk to convince them of the case for National Parks. Photo credit: Ramblers Association

Bottom: Rambler’s Tom Platt leads parliamentarians and others on the anniversary walk, including Sir Patrick McCloughlin MP and Ruth George MP, Sarah Muckherjee (member of the Glover review of National Parks), Maxwell Ayamba of the Sheffield Environment Movement, Kate Ashbrook, CEO of the Open Spaces Society, and visually impaired rambler Marika Kovacs.

Celebrations were attended by a number of organisations and individuals including MPs Sir Patrick McCloughlin and Ruth George, OutdoorLads, National Trust, and Disabled Ramblers.

Readers can watch the celebrations on Sunday 7 April episode of BBC’s Countryfile.