One big family
There are 15 members of the national parks family in the United Kingdom and each one is looked after by its own authority. We all work together as National Parks UK.
The UK's 15 national parks are part of a global family of more than 113,000 protected areas, covering 149 million square kilometres or 6 percent of Earth's surface. We are linked to Europe through the EUROPARC Federation – a network of European protected areas with 360 member organisations in 37 countries.
There are 10 National Parks in England, 3 in Wales and 2 in Scotland, they are:
- England - Broads, Dartmoor, Exmoor, Lake District, New Forest, Northumberland, North York Moors, Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, and South Downs.
- Wales - Brecon Beacons, Pembrokeshire Coast, and Snowdonia
- Scotland - Cairngorms and Loch Lomond & the Trossachs.
Not ours - but ours to look after
Each national park is administered by its own authority. They are independent bodies funded by central government to:
- Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage.
- Promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of national parks by the public.
In carrying out these aims, national park authorities are also required to seek to foster the economic and social well-being of local communities within the national park.
In the case of the Broads there is a third purpose, namely protecting the interests of navigation, and all three purposes are given equal priority.
For the Scottish parks there are four aims for the area:
- To conserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the area.
- To promote sustainable use of the natural resources of the area.
- To promote understanding and enjoyment (including enjoyment in the form of recreation) of the special qualities of the area by the public.
- To promote sustainable economic and social development of the area's communities.
With the exception of Broads National Park, if there's a conflict between a park's purposes, greater weight has to be given to the first purpose.
See the looking after section to find out how we work to conserve and promote enjoyment in the national parks
Elected members and staff
Each national park authority has a number of unpaid appointed members, selected by the Secretary of State, local councils and parish councils. The role of members is to provide leadership, scrutiny and direction for the national park authority.
There are also a number of paid staff who carry out the work necessary to run the national park. Our working for us section shows the diverse types of jobs national park staff do, from rangers and ecologists to planners and education teams.
National Parks UK
National Parks UK brings together the 15 national park authorities in the UK to raise the profile of the national parks and to promote joint working. Country associations for the English and Welsh national parks represent the national park authorities to English and Welsh governments.
Find out about National Parks UK and the country associations
- Brecon Beacons National Park - Work of the Authority
- Broads National Park - The Authority
- Cairngorms National Park - The Authority
- Dartmoor National Park - About us
- Exmoor National Park - About Exmoor NPA
- Lake District National Park - About us
- New Forest National Park - About us
- Northumberland National Park - About us
- North York Moors National Park - How the Authority works
- Peak District National Park - Work of the Authority
- Pembrokeshire Coast National Park - What we do
- Snowdonia National Park - The Authority
- South Downs National Park - About the Authority
- Yorkshire Dales National Park - The National Park Authority
The links below will take you to each National Park's website:
- Brecon Beacons
- Lake District
- Loch Lomond & the Trossachs
- New Forest
- North York Moors
- Peak District
- Pembrokeshire Coast
- South Downs
- Yorkshire Dales