National Parks family

National park status is given to areas with beautiful countryside, wildlife and cultural heritage.

It is the combination of these things which makes the national parks such special places.

The parks are protected under legislation to ensure conservation and enhancement of their special qualities, not just for the present, but also for future generations of communities and visitors. Find out more about how and why national parks were established.

Despite being natural landscapes, the UK's National Parks have been shaped by human activity over thousands of years. The Broads National Park is no different, with significant cultural and heritage significance. There's evidence of Roman fortresses, medieval peat diggings, thriving abbeys and more. You can read the new National Parks UK historic environment leaflet to learn more about the heritage value of these special landscapes.

More than a national park

The Broads joined the national park family in 1989, established under special legislation taking account of the Broads Authority's three purposes:

  • Conserving and enhancing the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Broads
  • Promoting opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the Broads by the public
  • Protecting the interests of navigation

Each of the other national parks has its own managing authority, with the same first two purposes for their own parks.

Turf Fen Mill

Despite covering the smallest geographical area and having the second smallest population, the Broads attracts the fourth largest number of visitors in the national park family, behind the Lake District, the Peak District and the Yorkshire Dales.

Our national park siblings

The other members of the UK national park family are:

  • The Brecon Beacons
  • The Cairngorms
  • Dartmoor
  • Exmoor
  • The Lake District
  • Loch Lomond and The Trossachs
  • The New Forest
  • The North York Moors
  • Northumberland
  • The Peak District
  • The Pembrokeshire Coast
  • Snowdonia
  • The South Downs
  • The Yorkshire Dales

Useful links

You can read more on the national parks website.