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National Parks UK

The landscapes in the UK’s National Parks are inspirational. National Parks UK’s mission is to kindle that inspiration and encourage the nation to care about and for all of our green and blue spaces. This is a virtuous circle, because science shows a direct correlation between a person’s wellbeing and their connection to nature. Nature cares for everyone if we let it. Green Space Dark Skies will help us to break down barriers to make that a reality.

Sunset over fields and coastline
Motorised off-road wheelchair ramblers and their dog pause for a photo

National Parks UK helped to create the Green Space Dark Skies project. We are event delivery partners and provide the locations for the majority of the project’s events. National Parks UK – and AONBs – support the liaison with landowners, local residents and land users about the project’s events, also ensuring that they are safe not just for participants but also for habitats, ecosystems and local wildlife.

National Parks also have long working relationships with many of the specialist community groups and organisations that are helping make sure that participation is open to as wide a cross-section of the UK’s population as possible.

Not ours – but ours to look after

There are 15 National Parks in the UK, covering 10% of its landmass. Each one has been designated as a protected landscape because of its special qualities.

World-class landscapes with the power to inspire everyone, the UK’s National Parks have been designated on behalf of the entire nation because of their stunning natural beauty, amazing wildlife and fascinating cultural heritage. These qualities make these living and working landscapes truly unique.

Funded by the UK’s devolved governments, our National Parks have specific purposes that are enshrined in law: conservation, enhancement, sustainability and enjoyment. These four words sit at the heart of all National Parks.

National Parks in the UK are different to most in the world because people live and work there. The defining challenge of our age is how to live on this planet and care for it so that it, in turn, can care for us. The work National Parks have been doing for 70 years in the UK is a microcosm of that challenge. Green Space Dark Skies helps to make the conversations inherent in these challenges accessible and relevant to new audiences. It does so in a way that creates a safe space for challenging, nuanced discussions about our rights, responsibilities and relationships to nature. Crucially it deepens our understanding and awareness of the barriers to access green spaces that some UK communities face – the first step to removing those barriers.

Alastair Barber
Creative Advisor
A moody looking and heather clad Cairngorms Glen - 2015 UK National Parks Photo competition in 2015

Photograph: David Russell


Meet the people bringing Green Space Dark Skies to life. They are known around the world, and have been making work in outdoor spaces for 30 years.