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National Parks UK List – Walking In The UK

National Parks UK List Introduction

National Parks UK List Map

The National Parks UK have been described as the UK’s “breathing spaces”.

There are 15 National Parks in the UK with a range of landscapes from beautiful mountains and meadows; to moorlands, wetlands and woods.

The UK National Parks are areas of protected countryside for everyone to visit and enjoy. They are also living spaces where people live and work, shaping the landscape.

Each National Park has an umbrella organisation to look after its landscape and wildlife.

The Parks also facilitate people learning about and enjoying the areas.

There are many activities to participate in within the UK National Parks, including kyacking, climbing and other adventure sports.

However, the most popular activity in all of the National Parks is walking. Walking is a fantastic way to take in the fabulous views and breathe the fresh air into your lungs.

National Parks in the UK offer some of the best walking in the UK.

They generally benefit from a well developed network of footpaths and trails and usually have better than average waymarking to guide you.

On the move in National Parks UK

This 4 minutes 33 seconds video about the National Parks UK explains that there is more to do in the Parks than just walking – there is kayaking, climbing and other adventure sports.




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Contents For National Parks UK List

The contents list below is a list of National Parks in the UK by country. Each section provides a brief description and links to more detailed articles on each National Park:


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1 – The Broads National Park

Broads National Park - Windmill

The Broads National Park encompasses both the Norfolk Broads and Suffolk Broads which are specific areas within the two counties respectively. However, the whole Broads area is often by mistake called the “Norfolk Broads”.

The Broads is governed by “The Broads Authority” and has a total area is 303 square kilometres or 117 square miles, with the majority in Norfolk. Read more here…


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2 – Dartmoor National Park

Dartmoor National Park - Winter Pony

Dartmoor National Park is a 954 square kilometres or 368 square miles area of mainly open moorland and heath in south Devon, England and is administered by the Dartmoor National Park Authority. As you travel around the Park you will encounter evidence of mankind’s presence here through the ages, including stone circles, standing stones, stone crosses, ancient villages, and Neolithic Bronze Age structures. Read more here…


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3 – Exmoor National Park

Exmoor National Park - Valley of Rocks Walk, Lynton

Exmoor National Park is mainly an upland area of hilly open moorland in South West England with an area of 692 square kilometres or 267 square miles. 71% of the Park lies in Somerset and 29% lies in Devon. The Park gets its name from the River Exe, the source of which is located in the centre of the Park.

Exmoor National Park used to be a Royal forest and hunting ground until sold off in 1818. It was designated a National Park in 1954 and is governed by the Exmoor National Park Authority. The Park contains the Brendon Hills, the East Lyn Valley, the Vale of Porlock and 55 kilometres or 34 miles of coast on the Bristol Channel. There are a number of areas within the Park that are “Sites of Special Scientific Interest” due to their flora and fauna. Read more here…


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4 – The Lake District National Park

The Lake District National Park - Derwent Water

The Lake District National Park was designated a National Park in 1951 and at 2,292 square kilometres or 885 square miles, it is the biggest National Park in England and Wales, and the second biggest in the United Kingdom after the Cairngorms National Park.

The Lake District lies completely within the county of Cumbria and contains all the land in England that lies above 3,000 feet above sea level. Read more here…


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5 – The New Forest National Park

The New Forest National Park - Ponies Grazing

The New Forest National Park lies in southern England, mainly in south-west Hampshire with a small portion lying around Redlynch and Landford in Wiltshire.

The Park was formally designated in 2005 and covers an area of 566 square kilometres or 219 square miles, of which 380 square kilometres or 150 square miles are the New Forest. The Park is bounded by Bournemouth and Christchurch to the west and by Southampton City to the east. There are also many towns and villages lying in or adjacent to the area. Read more here…


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6 – Northumberland National Park

Northumberland National Park - Bull Crag Peninsula Walk, Kielder Water

Northumberland National Park is England’s most northern and covers an area of more than 1030 square kilometres or 402 square miles. The park is managed by the Northumberland National Park Authority, covers about 25 percent of Northumberland County and lies completely within the county.

The Park lies between the border with Scotland to just south of Hadrian’s Wall and of all the National Parks, this one has the lowest population and is also the least visited. Read more here…


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7 – North York Moors National Park

North York Moors National Park - North York Moors Railway From Larpool Viaduct

At 554 square miles or 1,436 square kilometres, The North York Moors National Park in North Yorkshire, England is amongst the biggest expanses of heather moorland within the United Kingdom. Guiding the management of the North York Moors is the North York Moors National Park Authority.

The striking cliffs of the North Sea coastline delineate the eastern edge of the North York Moors Park, with shore access limited in many parts at small fishing villages likes Robin Hood’s Bay, Staithes and Runswick. The highest cliffs are at Boulby at over 600 feet above sea level. Read more here…


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8 – The Peak District National Park

The Peak District National Park - Froggatt Edge - Derbyshire Walks

The Peak District is an upland area located in central and northern England and most of it lies within the boundaries of the Peak District National Park which is governed by The Peak District National Park Authority.

Designated in 1951, The Peak District National Park became the first national park in the United Kingdom. The Park has an area of 1,437 square kilometres or 555 square miles covering areas of Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire. Read more here…


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9 – South Downs National Park

South Downs National Park - Seven Sisters

In April 2011, the South Downs National Park in the south of England became the newest operational National Park in England. The Park is administered by the South Downs National Park Authority and incorporates two areas previously designated as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, those of East Hampshire AONB and Sussex Downs AONB.

The South Downs National Park has an area of 1,627 square kilometres or 628 square miles in southern England. Read more here…


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10 – Yorkshire Dales National Park

Yorkshire Dales National Park - Malham Cove Walk

The Yorkshire Dales National Park was setup in 1954 and got its name from the fact that it initially lay within just Yorkshire. Today, the majority but not all of the Yorkshire Dales lies within the National Park which spans parts of the three counties of West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire and Cumbria. Its management is guided by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

The Yorkshire Dales is actually a collection of valleys with rivers running through them together with the hills in the midst of them. The scenery is characterised by green pastures separated using dry-stone walls with sheep and cattle grazing them. Small villages and farms hug the valley sides and river banks whilst the high ridge of the Pennines overlook the landscape. Read more here…


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11 – Brecon Beacons National Park

Brecon Beacons National Park - Pen Y Fan

Established in 1957, the Brecon Beacons National Park covers an area of 1,344 square kilometres or 519 square miles in South Wales and is governed by the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority. The Park is bordered by Hay-on-Wye to the north east, Llabdeilo to the west and Pontypool to the southeast.

The majority of Brecon Beacons National Park is bare, grassy moorland which is grazed by Welsh mountain sheep and ponies. There are also some forestry plantations dotted about with pasture land in the valleys. Read more here…


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12 – Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park - Broad Haven

The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park lies on the Pembrokeshire Coast in West Wales and was established in 1952 principally for the reason that it has a fabulous coastline. The Park takes in about one third of Pembrokeshire county including the complete length of the coast.

Pembrokeshire National Park has an area of 629 square kilometres or 243 square miles with mixed landscape of untamed inland hills, forested estuaries, volcanic headlands, flooded glacial valleys, steep limestone cliffs, undulating red sandstone bays, and sandy beaches, and is managed by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority. Read more here…


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13 – Snowdonia National Park

Snowdonia National Park - Cader Idris

Located on Britain’s west coast in the northwest of Wales and established in 1951, the Snowdonia National Park has an area of 2,132 square kilometres or 823 square miles of varied landscapes, and has 60 kilometres or 37 miles of coastline.

Snowdon National Park is presided over by the Snowdonia National Park Authority and is the largest National Park in Wales. Read more here…


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14 – The Cairngorms National Park

Cairngorms National Park - Upper Glen Dee

The Cairngorms National Park is at the heart of the Scottish Highlands and has the Cairngorms National Park Authority directing its management. The Park gets its name from the Cairgorms mountain range and is related to the mountain named Cairn Gorm.

If you visit Cairngorms Scotland you will be experiencing Britain’s biggest National Park with the Cairngorms mountain range being the most extensive range of high mountains in the UK. With an area of 4,528 square kilometres or 1,748 square miles the Park has an immense, tundra-like wilderness plateau and superb corries, at its heart. Its utter size, scale and remote nature makes it the most spectacular and harsh mountain environments in Britain. Read more here…


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15 – Loch Lomond And The Trossachs National Park

Loch Lomond And The Trossachs National Park - Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park was the first National Park setup in Scotland in 2002 and it is presided over by Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority. The Loch Lomond and the Trossachs Park is centred on Loch Lomond and it also includes a number of ranges of hills, with the most famous of these being the Trossachs.

The Loch Lomond Trossachs National Park has an area of 1,865 square kilometres or 720 square miles and a periphery length of about 350 kilometres or 220 miles and the highest point is Ben More at 1,174 metres or feet 3,852 feet. The Park contains 21 Munros, mountains over 3,000 feet, including Ben Lomond; 19 Corbetts, mountains with a height of 2,500 to 3,000 feet; 22 large lochs; dozens of “lochans” (small villages); 50 rivers; two forest parks, the Queen Elizabeth and the Argyll; and 57 designated special nature conservation sites. Read more here…

If you want to read more here are some useful resources:

  1. The UK National Parks website.
  2. The UK National Parks YouTube channel.

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