Northumberland National Park is urging the region and National Park lovers everywhere to get voting and help ensure it wins the prestigious accolade of National Park of The Year in the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards 2015/16.
Northumberland National Park was nominated for the award by BBC presenter Ellie Harrison after the magazine asked experts to draw up a shortlist of nominees for each category. The nomination highlights the National Park’s “meadows, moorland, peat bogs, ancient woodlands and still-wild coastline” and its “vivid history, solitude, dark skies and superb wildlife such as stoats, black grouse and red squirrels.”
Now it needs your support to win by voting online via the BBC Countryfile Magazine website: http://www.countryfile.com/awards2015-16. Voting closes on Sunday 31 January.
The awards, now in their fifth year, are a celebration of Britain’s countryside and its people from great heritage attractions and favourite holiday destinations, to the best nature reserves and the finest rural pubs.
Glen Sanderson, chairman of Northumberland National Park Authority, said: “This nomination is a great achievement for Northumberland National Park and once again recognises the county’s outstanding natural beauty on a national stage.
“The variety we have on offer in our National Park is totally unique. We’ve just celebrated the second anniversary of our designation as an International Dark Skies Park, which puts us firmly on the global map as one of the very best places to enjoy the glittering treasures of the night sky. And where else can you go that will take you from walking in the footsteps of the Romans to stepping further back in time at Iron Age Hillforts, enjoying panoramic views into Scotland from the Border Ridge, or trying local produce and crafts made by the park’s many skilled artisans?
“We’ve already had some fantastic support from our partners, visitors and companies across the region to help us spread the word and urge people to vote for us. If we win this award I’ve no doubt that the national recognition will provide a great boost to our region’s tourism industry. Whatever you’re looking for – flora, fauna, countryside activities, star-gazing, history, culture, or just somewhere to escape from it all – we have it in abundance. Your vote can help us to secure this prestigious accolade and enable lots more visitors to enjoy our stunning destination.”
Last year 1.69 million people visited the park and surrounding areas. The most popular reasons for visiting were a long walk (48%) and a short walk (45%). Next is eating out (27%), visiting a historic site (26%), visiting an attraction (21%), photography (15%), car touring (8%) and cycling/mountain biking (7%).
With fewer than 2,000 inhabitants, Northumberland National Park is the most sparsely populated UK National Park at 0.02 people per hectare. Open access land accounts for 72% of the park and there are 1,140km of public rights of way and a further 90km of permissive routes.
Other National Parks nominated in the category are Cairngorms, Pembrokeshire Coast, Norfolk Broads and New Forest.
The winners will be announced in an online ceremony in March and will appear in the May issue of the magazine (on sale 8 April). Postal votes are also accepted; write to BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards, BBC Countryfile Magazine, Tower House, Fairfax Street, Bristol BS1 3BN.