Letter: National parks are a source of wonder

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The Independent Online
Sir: A D Evans argues that it is "nonsense" to say that the National Parks represent the finest countryside in England and Wales (Letters, 20 February).

When the Ramblers' Association and other organisations were campaigning in the 1940s for the creation of national parks, it was never their intention to impose judgements on other people about what does and does not constitute fine countryside. Nor did they have in mind a league table of countryside areas, ranked in order of scenic beauty.

But there was a wide consensus then, as there is now, that places like the Lake District, Snowdonia and Dartmoor have very special qualities which are a source of inspiration and wonder to millions of people, and which should be protected for future generations. That argument found favour, and the government's response was to do what many other countries have done, before and since, namely to designate those outstanding stretches of countryside as national parks.

But it is true that several beautiful areas which deserved to be designated were left out. Today, a campaign for the creation of further national parks is gaining momentum, with the Highlands of Scotland, and non-upland countryside, such as the South Downs and the New Forest, high on the list.

If A D Evans, or anyone else, would care to develop a case for designating parts of Dorset or Shropshire as national parks, they would readily find a sympathetic audience.

ALAN MATTINGLY

The Ramblers' Association

London SW8

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