Getting Back to Nature: Access and Recreation in the Protected Spaces of SW Britain

Project Details


Exploring the historical legacy of landscape protection and consequences for our expectations and usages of national parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, through 4 case studies: Exmoor NP and Quantock Hills AONB, Pembrokeshire NP and Gower AONB.

Efforts of national park and AONB authorities to reconcile landscape ‘use’ with landscape ‘delight’ (to borrow Chris Smout’s phrase) lies at the heart of this project. Key research questions include: . What were the consequences for the users, managers and landscapes themselves, of a place becoming an AONB rather than a national park? Has the statutory requirement to provide access at national parks conflicted with habitat conservation, in contrast to AONBs with their more limited initial remit? What – if any – is the relationship between national parks and AONBs at the local, operational level? These questions revolve around a central paradox in landscapes protection – in the UK and beyond – between environmental protection and the provision of recreational amenity.

The project will use links with the NP and AONB services, external 'watchdog' groups such as the Friends of Quantock and Friends of Pembrokeshire NP, archival research and not least the landscapes themselves, to unveil the stories of 4 highly-prized leisure landscapes - and fresh territory for British environmental history.
Effective start/end date1/07/121/04/13


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