Dartmoor's Bovey Castle played host to the UK National Parks Conference in October. Every two years delegates from all 15 UK National Parks come together to provide an opportunity to consider the value of National Parks, current challenges, opportunities and future direction, and how to sustain the National Parks for future generations.
The 2015 event ran from 14-16 October and began with a video message recorded by The Prince of Wales. His Royal Highness has a special affinity with Dartmoor, which has been part of the Duchy of Cornwall Estate since the 14th century. As the largest landowner on Dartmoor, the Duchy has worked closely with the National Park for more than six decades and was a sponsor of this year's event. It also supports a number of community initiatives such as the Dartmoor Hill Farm Project which is co-funded by Dartmoor National Park Authority and the Rural Development Programme to provide an advisory and sign-posting service to farmers on legislative changes, grant schemes and land management.
Delegates also heard from Trevor Sandwith from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organisation. Environmentalist and Guardian columnist George Monbiot presented his vision for re-wilding the National Park and Jonathan Dimbleby chaired a ‘National Parks – Any Questions’ debate, with invited questions from the audience to explore future challenges and issues.
Peter Harper, Chairman of Dartmoor National Park Authority said:
“We are responsible for the future of the UK’s finest landscapes and the communities that live within them, I hope this conference will challenge our thinking and stimulate debate, both formally and informally, giving us all a renewed sense of vigour and vision to help manage the UK’s finest landscapes for the benefit of everyone, now and tomorrow.”
In addition to representatives from all UK National Parks, this year's conference was attended by The Duchy of Cornwall, Natural England, Defra, Devon Wildlife Trust, Ministry of Defence, Campaign for National Parks, Historic England, Jersey Coast National Park, South West Water, The Dartmoor Trust, Dartmoor Commoners’ Council, Dartmoor Preservation Association and the Welsh Government.
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