Part two of our exploration of the magnificent national parks of Great Britain takes us to more outstanding areas of countryside in England, Scotland and Wales. These national parks are chosen for their breathtaking beauty as well as outstanding features, flora and fauna. In this blog post we look at the stunning surroundings of the Lake District of Cumbria, the New Forest in Hampshire, the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast, the desolate and wild North Yorkshire moors and the dramatic mountains of the Cairngorms.
The Lake District is the largest national park in England, covering an immense area of just under a thousand square miles of picturesque mountains and lakes. The whole of the Lake District is also a World Heritage Site and is full of high fells and deep lakes formed by glaciers, it also contains England’s highest peak – Scafell Pike. Altogether, there are sixteen main lakes, tarns and waters, and the area has inspired poets and painters for generations. Of course, water-based activities are fantastic, and the many challenging walks and climbs also offer a great pastime.
The term New Forest is slightly misleading, as this area of southern England is indeed very old. It is home to ancient woodland, very rare heath land, fine coastal salt marshes, lagoons, farmland and mudflats. In the forest you can see wild ponies and deer roaming about, and if you visit the Blackwater Arboretum, you can see a wide array of trees including Redwoods and Douglas firs. Some of the trees in this historic royal hunting forest are over a thousand years old.
The Pembrokeshire Coast of Wales is Britain’s only fully coastal national park, containing rugged cliffs, flat sandy beaches, coves and harbors. There are nearly 600 miles of public bridleways and footpaths to discover. Visitors can see an array of seabirds, fish, seals, dolphins and even basking sharks. There are also many ancient sites to discover, such as Iron Age forts, Celtic crosses and Prehistoric tombs, and a fair share of medieval castles. The area is superb for walking, riding, cycling, canoeing and many other water sports. Try the locally caught mackerel, fresh from the fisherman’s boats.
North Yorkshire Moors
A windswept and desolate place, but also housing many treasures for the explorers who are brave enough to visit. The North Yorkshire Moors has enchanting woodland, vast sways of moorland and also a fine coastline on the windswept North Sea. Less than one hour from York, visitors are thrown into the magnificent rugged landscape of the Yorkshire Moors. However, there is also tranquil woods, ancient trees and beautiful landscapes with native wild daffodils and bluebells.
The Cairngorms of Scotland are Britain’s largest national park, they contain the highest mountains, biggest forests, outstanding lochs and tarns, fast flowing rivers, fantastic wildlife and mile after mile of purple moorland. Visitors can marvel in ancient Caledonian pine forests, deep lochs, historic castles, large highland estates and, of course, the famous Whisky Trail. The Cairngorms are as wild and rugged as they possibly could be, and offer breathtaking beauty at every turn. To visit this part of Britain is to go back in time as it was thousands of years ago.
The magnificent Cairngorms ends this latest leg of our tour around Great Britain’s marvelous national parks. In part three we conclude our journey starting in Northumberland.