“There is compelling evidence of a growing disconnect between people and the natural environment, and yet now, more than ever before, our natural landscapes provide a vital resource in supporting the health and wellbeing of all young people” says Trevor Beattie, Chief Executive, South Downs National Park.
A discussion paper from the Dorset National Park team shows how National Parks help young people connect with nature and so support their mental and physical health, and how they help improve fitness, educational experience and life chances. It offers ideas and examples of what can be achieved.
The discussion paper notes how a new Dorset National Park partnership at the heart of Southern England could be part of a positive and restorative vision for the future of this area with its outstanding environment and range of recreational opportunities. This would chime with the Government’s manifesto commitment to create new National Parks. A Dorset National Park, as a key partner for councils, communities, the health sector and others, would build on the experiences and successes achieved by other National Parks and support a thriving, healthy, greener future for everyone including Dorset’s communities, economy and environment.
Dame Fiona Reynolds says: “This report is packed full of evidence about what can be done, is being done and could be done so much more widely and systematically if we really cared about young people’s lives. Let’s seize the moment to put nature, and access to it, at the heart of our plans for the future.”
Julian Glover says: “Walking long-distance routes with friends and family was one of the highlights of my childhood. I can still remember how steep the path along the Jurassic coast seemed when I was about 10. I want everyone to get the chance to gain from experiences like that which is why we made it a central part of the recent Landscapes Review which I led. This excellent report underlines just how much it matters.”
We look forward to the Government signalling its intention to create a Dorset National Park. First proposed by John Dower in 1945 as part of a post-war vision for the nation, this could now be part of a national drive to secure a healthy, successful and sustainable future.
We hope you enjoy this paper with its inspiring and positive examples of National Parks’ work with young people.
For more information and to be kept in touch, visit www.dorsetnationalpark.com.
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Dorset National Park Team.