We need to protect the UK’s natural spaces to ensure the renaissance of domestic tourism continues

Rediscovering the Great British outdoors comes at a price, increased numbers at beauty spots. Public open spaces need to be managed and invested in, says Vince Cable

Saturday 22 August 2020 12:32
We need to protect the UK's natural spaces to maintain the boost in local tourism
We need to protect the UK's natural spaces to maintain the boost in local tourism

Feeling smug is a rather unpleasant but essentially harmless and enjoyable emotion. While hundreds of thousands of Brits were having to abort their continental holidays – dashing to the channel ports or airports, to avoid mandatory quarantine – my wife and I were enjoying an idyllic break hill walking. From a base in a caravan park, near the beach under the mountains in Snowdonia, we saw some of the best the UK has to offer.

Our fellow caravaners were respectful of each other’s space and children biked, scooted or toddled around the site in perfect safety. The Welsh sun beat down, to give us the best tan for years, and we needed recourse to the Irish Sea to keep cool. Up in the hills on the Precipice Walk (not quite as heroic as it sounds), there were more birds of prey than people and the most intrusive noise was of sheep.

Sceptics will point out that mist and rain is a more usual backcloth to a holiday in the Welsh mountains. But for us, at least, this was another reminder of what the Covid pandemic has brought alive: the massively important, yet unquantifiable, value of open space; from the local park to the grandeur of the National Parks; from the river or canal walk to our coastal beaches and cliffs.

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