National parks of the United Kingdom

The national parks of the United Kingdom, (Welsh: parciau cenedlaethol, Scottish Gaelic: pàircean nàiseanta), are areas of relatively undeveloped and scenic landscape. Despite their name, they are quite different from national parks in many other countries, which are usually owned and managed by governments as protected community resources, and which do not usually include permanent human communities. In the UK an area designated as a national park may include substantial settlements and human land uses that are often integral parts of the landscape. Land within national parks remains largely in private ownership. These parks are therefore not truly "national parks" according to the internationally accepted standard of the IUCN[1] but they are areas of outstanding landscape where habitation and commercial activities are restricted.

Fourteen areas are designated as national parks in the United Kingdom; in addition, the Broads now have 'equivalent status'

Within the United Kingdom there are fourteen national parks, and one further area with "equivalent status". There are ten in England, three in Wales and two in Scotland.

An estimated 110 million people visit the national parks of England and Wales each year. Recreation and tourism bring visitors and funds into the parks, to sustain their conservation efforts, and support the local population through jobs and businesses. However, these visitors also bring problems, such as erosion and traffic congestion, and conflicts over the use of the parks' resources. Access to cultivated land is restricted to public rights of way and permissive paths. (Under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 there is a right of access for walkers to most but not all uncultivated areas in England and Wales.)