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Today (1 August) 188 square miles, an area larger than the Isle of Wight, are embraced by the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks following a long campaign by amenity groups. The Open Spaces Society, Britain’s oldest national conservation body, welcomes the inclusion of these fine landscapes in the two national parks.
The Lake District is to be extended by 27 square miles, to incorporate areas such as Birkbeck Fells, Whinfell and part of the Lyth valley, while the Yorkshire Dales is expanded by 161 square miles to include parts of the Orton Fells, northern Howgill Fells, Wild Boar Fell and Mallerstang. The two national parks almost touch at the M6, and the whole of the Howgill Fells is protected.
Says Kate Ashbrook, our general secretary: ‘We are delighted that this long-unfinished business has at last been completed. The park borders were illogical, reflecting former local-authority boundaries which paid no attention to landscape and natural beauty.
‘The society played an important role in the original establishment of national parks in England and Wales in 1949, and we have worked alongside the Campaign for National Parks, Friends of the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales Society and others to secure the inclusion of these left-out landscapes.
‘The new national park areas are rich in common land and other open country where people have the right to roam free; they have a wild beauty and grandeur which deserves to be protected and recognised.
‘It is entirely fitting that the new designations should take effect in the eightieth-anniversary year of the Campaign for National Parks, at the end of National Parks Week — and on Yorkshire Day,’ Kate concludes.