National Parks cover less than 10% of England’s area, they contain much higher proportions of the most wildlife-rich habitats such as heaths, fens and ancient woodlands. Up to 80% of some habitats that have been identified as national priorities for conservation are within the National Parks.
It is not surprising, then, that National Parks are havens for our native plants and animals. 87% of conservation priority butterfly species and 80% of priority orchid species can be found in England’s National Parks. Dedicated management and reintroduction projects are helping special species such as the fen raft spider, the freshwater pearl mussel and the barn owl to thrive and increase their range.
National Park Authorities work with landowners, communities and a range of charities and agencies to implement conservation measures and projects. The Authorities’ conservation expertise helps to protect wildlife, and support developments that enhance the natural environment. Best of all, England’s National Parks are not strict preserves where the public cannot visit. Our National Parks are free and open to all, with 90 million visitors every year enjoying the opportunity to get closer to nature.
National Parks can help expand and join up wildlife-rich habitats, providing even more places where nature can thrive and people can come to enjoy it. They are home to our native plants and spectacular wildlife, from the stunning orchids in the South Downs to the ospreys that return each year to breed in the Lake District.