The National Parks of Great Britan

Dartmoor is an area of moorland in the centre of Devon. Peak district national park. Medieval to modern history. Tunnel on the Manchester to Sheffield line. Road network, public transport. The Broads National Park. Queen Elizabeth Park, British Columbia.

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School - ghymnasia №6

Project work

The Natieonal Parks of Great Britan

Dany by: Chernyshova Nastya


Teacher: Kestel O. V.

Semey 2009


  • 1. Introduction
    • 2. Dartmoor National park
    • History
    • Pre-history
    • Beardown Man, Dartmoor
    • The historical period
    • Myths and literature
    • Towns
    • Physical geography
    • Rivers
    • 3. Peak district national park
    • History
    • Early history
    • Medieval to modern history
    • Transport
    • History
    • Totley Tunnel on the Manchester to Sheffield line
    • Road network
    • Public transport
    • Geography
    • 4. The Broads National Park
    • History
    • Geography
    • 5. Queen Elizabeth Park, British Columbia
    • History
    • Attractions
    • 6. History of the New Forest
    • New Forest National Park
    • Geography
    • 7. Exmoor
    • History
    • Geology
    • Coastline
    • Flora
    • Fauna
    • Places of interest
    • 8. Yorkshire Dales
    • Yorkshire Dales National Park
    • Geography
    • Cave systems
    • 9. Lake District
    • General geography
    • Development of tourism
    • Conclusion
    • Additional material
    • Literature

1. Introduction

The theam of my project work “National parks of Great Britan".

National Parks of Great Britan cover approximately 7% of the country. They did not have any special exotic animals or plants, But such areas as Dartmoor, Peak District, Yorkshire, Valley Noth York, the New Forest and Broads every year attract thousends of tourists. The peculiarity of the British National parks in that it isn't “dead" area, And quite close to major urban areas, which allowed any activity aimed at restoration of nature, so most of the National psrks are more like the great urban parks or botanical gardens. Many of them - private ownership.

In my project work, I will write about some of them.

Special attention I wiil pay to the study of history, culture and geography.

2. Dartmoor National park

Dartmoor is an area of moorland in the centre of Devon, England. Protected by National Park status, it covers 368 square miles (953 km2).

The granite upland dates from the Carboniferous period of geological history. The moorland is capped with many exposed granite hilltops (known as tors), providing habitats for Dartmoor wildlife. The highest point is High Willhays, 621 m (2,037 ft) above sea level. The entire area is rich in antiquities and archaeology.

Dartmoor is managed by the Dartmoor National Park Authority whose 26 members are drawn from Devon County Council, local District Councils and Government.

Parts of Dartmoor have been used as a military firing range for over two hundred years. The public enjoy extensive access rights to the rest of Dartmoor, and it is a popular tourist destination. The Park was featured on the TV programme Seven Natural Wonders as the top natural wonder in South West England.



The majority of the prehistoric remains on Dartmoor date back to the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age. Indeed, Dartmoor contains the largest concentration of Bronze Age remains in the United Kingdom, which suggests that this was when a larger population moved onto the hills of Dartmoor.

The climate at the time was warmer than today, and much of today's moorland was covered with trees. The prehistoric settlers began clearing the forest, and established the first farming communities. Fire was the main method of clearing land, creating pasture and swidden types of fire-fallow farmland. Areas less suited for farming, tended to be burned for livestock grazing. Over the centuries these Neolithic practices greatly expanded the upland moors, contributed to the acidification of the soil and the accumulation of peat and bogs.

The nature of the soil, which is highly acidic, means that no organic remains have survived. However, by contrast, the high durability of the natural granite means that their homes and monuments are still to be found in abundance, as are their flint tools. It should be noted that a number of remains were “restored" by enthusiastic Victorians and that, in some cases, they have placed their own interpretation on how an area may have looked.

Beardown Man, Dartmoor

Numerous menhirs (more usually referred to locally as standing stones or longstones), stone circles, kistvaens, cairns and stone rows are to be found on the moor. The most significant sites include:

Beardown Man, near Devil's Tor - isolated standing stone 3.5 m (11 ft) high, said to have another 1 m (3.3 ft) below ground. grid reference SX596796

Challacombe, near the prehistoric settlement of Grimspound - triple stone row. grid reference SX689807

Drizzlecombe, east of Sheepstor village - stone circles, rows, standing stones, kistvaens and cairns. grid reference SX591669

Grey Wethers, near Postbridge - double circle, aligned almost exactly north south. grid reference SX638831

Laughter Tor, near Two Bridges - standing stone 2.4 m (7.9 ft) high and two double stone rows, one 164 m (540 ft) long. grid reference SX652753

Merrivale, between Princetown and Tavistock - includes a double stone row 182 m (600 ft) long, 1.1 m (3.6 ft) wide, aligned almost exactly east-west), stone circles and a kistvaen. grid reference SX554747

Scorhill, west of Chagford - circle, 26.8 m (88 ft) in circumference, and stone rows. grid reference SX654873

Shovel Down, north of Fernworthy reservoir - double stone row approximately 120 m (390 ft) long. grid reference SX660859

There are also an estimated 5,000 hut circles still surviving today, despite the fact that many have been raided over the centuries by the builders of the traditional dry stone walls. These are the remnants of Bronze Age houses. The smallest are around 1.8 m (6 ft) in diameter, and the largest may be up to five times this size.

Some have L-shaped porches to protect against wind and rain - some particularly good examples are to be found at Grimspound. It is believed that they would have had a conical roof, supported by timbers and covered in turf or thatch.

Many ancient structures, including the hut circles at Grimspound, were reconstructed during the 19th century - most notably by civil engineer and historian Richard Hansford Worth. Some of this work was based more on speculation than archaeological expertise, and has since been criticised for its inaccuracy.

The historical period

The climate worsened over the course of a thousand years from around 1000 BC, so that much of high Dartmoor was largely abandoned by its early inhabitants.

It was not until the early medieval period that the weather again became warmer, and settlers moved back onto the moors. Like their ancient forebears, they also used the natural granite to build their homes, preferring a style known as the longhouse - some of which are still inhabited today, although they have been clearly adapted over the centuries. Many are now being used as farm buildings, while others were abandoned and fell into ruin.

The earliest surviving farms, still in operation today, are known as the Ancient Tenements. Most of these date back to the 14th century and sometimes earlier.

Some way into the moor stands the town of Princetown, the site of the notorious Dartmoor Prison, which was originally built both by, and for, prisoners of war from the Napoleonic Wars. The prison has a (now misplaced) reputation for being escape-proof, both due to the buildings themselves and its physical location.

The Dartmoor landscape is scattered with the marks left by the many generations who have lived and worked there over the centuries - such as the remains of the once mighty Dartmoor tin-mining industry, and farmhouses long since abandoned. Indeed the industrial archaeology of Dartmoor is a subject in its own right.

Myths and literature

Dartmoor abounds with myths and legends. It is reputedly the haunt of pixies, a headless horseman, a mysterious pack of `spectral hounds', and a large black dog. During the Great Thunderstorm of 1638, Dartmoor was even said to have been visited by the Devil.

Many landmarks have ancient legends and ghost stories associated with them, such as Jay's Grave, the ancient burial site at Childe's Tomb, the rock pile called Bowerman's Nose, and the stone crosses that mark mediaeval routes across the moor.

A few stories have emerged in recent decades, such as the `hairy hands', that are said to attack travellers on the B3212 near Two Bridges.

Dartmoor has inspired a number of artists and writers, such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Adventure of Silver Blaze, Eden Phillpotts, Beatrice Chase, Agatha Christie and the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould.


Dartmoor has a resident population of about 33,400, which swells considerably during holiday periods with incoming tourists. For a list, expand the Settlements of Dartmoor navigational box at the bottom of this page.

Physical geography


Dartmoor is known for its tors - large hills, topped with outcrops of bedrock, which in granite country such as this are usually rounded boulder-like formations. There are over 160 tors on Dartmoor. They are the focus of an annual event known as the Ten Tors Challenge, when over a thousand people, aged between 14 and 21, walk for distances of 35, 45 or 55 miles (56, 72 or 89 km) over ten tors on many differing routes. While many of the hills of Dartmoor have the word “Tor” in them quite a number do not, however this does not appear to relate to whether there is an outcrop of rock on their summit.

The highest points on Dartmoor are High Willhays (grid reference SX580895) at 621 m (2,040 ft) and Yes Tor (grid reference SX581901) 619 m (2,030 ft) on the northern moor. Ryder's Hill (grid reference SX690660), 515 m (1,690 ft), Snowdon 495 m (1,620 ft), and an unnamed point at (grid reference SX603645),493 m (1,620 ft) are the highest points on the southern moor. Probably the best known tor on Dartmoor is Haytor (also spelt Hey Tor) (grid reference SX757771), 457 m (1,500 ft). For a more complete list see List of Dartmoor tors and hills.


The levels of rainfall on Dartmoor are considerably higher than in the surrounding lowlands. With much of the national park covered in thick layers of peat, the rain is usually absorbed quickly and distributed slowly, so that the moor is rarely dry.

In areas where water accumulates, dangerous bogs or mires can result. Some of these, up to 12 feet (3.7 m) across and topped with bright green moss, are known to locals as “feather beds” or “quakers", because they shift (or `quake') beneath your feet. This is the result of accumulations of sphagnum moss growing over a hollow in the granite filled with water.

Another consequence of the high rainfall is that there are numerous rivers and streams on Dartmoor. As well as shaping the landscape, these have traditionally provided a source of power for moor industries such as tin mining and quarrying.

The Moor takes its name from the River Dart, which starts as the East Dart and West Dart and then becomes a single river at Dartmeet.

For a full list, expand the Rivers of Dartmoor navigational box at the bottom of this page.


Angling is a popular pastime on the moor, especially for migratory fish such as salmon.

Kayaking and canoeing.

Dartmoor is a focal point for whitewater kayaking and canoeing, due to the previously mentioned high rainfall and high quality of rivers. The River Dart is the most prominent meeting place, the section known as the Loop being particularly popular, but the Erme, Plym, Tavy and Teign are also frequently paddled. There are other rivers on the moor which can be paddled, including the Walkham and Bovey. The access situation is variable on Dartmoor, some paddlers have experienced difficulties with landowners, while others have had a friendly reception.

3. Peak district national park

The Peak District is an upland area in central and northern England, lying mainly in northern Derbyshire, but also covering parts of Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Staffordshire, and South and West Yorkshire.

Most of the area falls within the Peak District National Park, whose designation in 1951 made it the earliest national park in the British Isles. An area of great diversity, it is conventionally split into the northern Dark Peak, where most of the moorland is found and whose geology is gritstone, and the southern White Peak, where most of the population lives and where the geology is mainly limestone-based. Proximity to the major cities of Manchester and Sheffield and the counties of Yorkshire, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Staffordshire coupled with easy access by road and rail, have all contributed to its popularity. With an estimated 22 million visitors per year, the Peak District is thought to be the second most-visited national park in the world (after the Mount Fuji National Park in Japan).


Early history

The Peak District has been settled from the earliest periods of human activity, as is evidenced by occasional finds of Mesolithic flint artefacts and by palaeoenvironmental evidence from caves in Dovedale and elsewhere. There is also evidence of Neolithic activity, including some monumental earthworks or barrows (burial mounds) such as that at Margery Hill. [12] In the Bronze Age the area was well populated and farmed, and evidence of these people survives in henges such as Arbor Low near Youlgreave or the Nine Ladies Stone Circle at Stanton Moor. In the same period, and on into the Iron Age, a number of significant hillforts such as that at Mam Tor were created. Roman occupation was sparse but the Romans certainly exploited the rich mineral veins of the area, exporting lead from the Buxton area along well-used routes. There were Roman settlements, including one at Buxton which was known to them as “Aquae Arnemetiae” in recognition of its spring, dedicated to the local goddess.

Theories as to the derivation of the Peak District name include the idea that it came from the Pecsaetan or peaklanders, an Anglo-Saxon tribe who inhabited the central and northern parts of the area from the 6th century AD when it fell within the large Anglian kingdom of Mercia.

Medieval to modern history

In medieval and early modern times the land was mainly agricultural, as it still is today, with sheep farming, rather than arable, the main activity in these upland holdings. However, from the 16th century onwards the mineral and geological wealth of the Peak became increasingly significant. Not only lead, but also coal, copper (at Ecton), zinc, iron, manganese and silver have all been mined here. Celia Fiennes, describing her journey through the Peak in 1697, wrote of `those craggy hills whose bowells are full of mines of all kinds off black and white and veined marbles, and some have mines of copper, others tinn and leaden mines, in w [hi] ch is a great deale of silver. ' Lead mining peaked in the 17th and 18th centuries and began to decline from the mid-19th century, with the last major mine closing in 1939, though lead remains a by-product of fluorspar, baryte and calcite mining (see Derbyshire lead mining history for details). Limestone and gritstone quarries flourished as lead mining declined, and remain an important industry in the Peak.

Large reservoirs such as Woodhead and Howden were built from the late 19th century onward to supply the growing urban areas surrounding the Peak District, often flooding large areas of farmland and depopulating the surrounding land in an attempt to improve the water purity.

The northern moors of Saddleworth and Wessenden gained notoriety in the 1960s as the burial site of several children murdered by the so-called Moors Murderers, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.



The first roads in the Peak were constructed by the Romans, although they may have followed existing tracks. The Roman network is thought to have linked the settlements and forts of Aquae Arnemetiae (Buxton), Chesterfield, Ardotalia (Glossop) and Navio (Brough-on-Noe), and extended outwards to Danum (Doncaster), Manucium (Manchester) and Derventio (Little Chester, near Derby). Parts of the modern A515 and A53 roads south of Buxton are believed to run along Roman roads.

Packhorse routes criss-crossed the Peak in the Medieval era, and some paved causeways are believed to date from this period, such as the Long Causeway along Stanage. However, no highways were marked on Saxton's map of Derbyshire, published in 1579. Bridge-building improved the transport network; a surviving early example is the three-arched gritstone bridge over the River Derwent at Baslow, which dates from 1608 and has an adjacent toll-shelter. [18] Although the introduction of turnpike roads (toll roads) from 1731 reduced journey times, the journey from Sheffield to Manchester in 1800 still took 16 hours, prompting Samuel Taylor Coleridge to remark that `a tortoise could outgallop us! 'From around 1815 onwards, turnpike roads both increased in length and improved in quality. An example is the Snake Road, built under the direction of Thomas Telford in 1819-21 (now the A57); the name refers to the crest of the Dukes of Devonshire. The Cromford Canal opened in 1794, carrying coal, lead and iron ore to the Erewash Canal.

Totley Tunnel on the Manchester to Sheffield line

The improved roads and the Cromford Canal both shortly came under competition from new railways, with work on the first railway in the Peak commencing in 1825. Although the Cromford and High Peak Railway (from Cromford Canal to Whaley Bridge) was an industrial railway, passenger services soon followed, including the Woodhead Line (Sheffield to Manchester via Longdendale) and the Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midlands Junction Railway. Not everyone regarded the railways as an improvement. John Ruskin wrote of the Monsal Dale line: `You enterprised a railroad through the valley, you blasted its rocks away, heaped thousands of tons of shale into its lovely stream. The valley is gone, and the gods with it; and now, every fool in Buxton can be at Bakewell in half-an-hour, and every fool in Bakewell at Buxton.

By the second half of the 20th century, the pendulum had swung back towards road transport. The Cromford Canal was largely abandoned in 1944, and several of the rail lines passing through the Peak were closed as uneconomic in the 1960s as part of the Beeching Axe. The Woodhead Line was closed between Hadfield and Penistone; parts of the trackbed are now used for the Trans-Pennine Trail, the stretch between Hadfield and Woodhead being known specifically as the Longdendale Trail. The Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midlands Junction Railway is now closed between Rowsley and Buxton where the trackbed forms part of the Monsal Trail. The Cromford and High Peak Railway is now completely shut, with part of the trackbed open to the public as the High Peak Trail. Another disused rail line between Buxton and Ashbourne now forms the Tissington Trail.

Road network

The main roads through the Peak District are the A57 (Snake Pass) between Sheffield and Manchester, the A628 (Woodhead Pass) between Barnsley and Manchester via Longdendale, the A6 from Derby to Manchester via Buxton, and the Cat and Fiddle road from Macclesfield to Buxton. These roads, and the pretty minor roads and lanes, are attractive to drivers, but the Peak's popularity makes road congestion a significant problem especially during summer.

Public transport

The Peak District is readily accessible by public transport, which reaches even central areas. Train services into the area are the Hope Valley Line from Sheffield and Manchester; the Derwent Valley Line from Derby to Matlock; and the Buxton Line and the Glossop Line linking those towns to Manchester. Coach (long-distance bus) services provide access to Matlock, Bakewell and Buxton from Derby, Nottingham and Manchester, and there are regular buses from the nearest towns such as Sheffield, Glossop, Stoke, Leek and Chesterfield. The nearest airports are Manchester, East Midlands and Doncaster-Sheffield.

For such a rural area, the smaller villages of the Peak are relatively well served by internal transport links. There are many minibuses operating from the main towns (Bakewell, Matlock, Hathersage, Castleton, Tideswell and Ashbourne) out to the small villages. The Hope Valley and Buxton Line trains also serves many local stations (including Hathersage, Hope and Edale).


The Peak District forms the southern end of the Pennines and much of the area is uplands above 1,000 feet (300 m), with a high point on Kinder Scout of 2,087 feet (636 m). Despite its name, the landscape lacks sharp peaks, being characterised by rounded hills and gritstone escarpments (the “edges”). The area is surrounded by major conurbations, including Huddersfield, Manchester, Sheffield, Derby and Stoke-on-Trent.

The National Park covers 555 square miles (1,440 km2) of Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire, Greater Manchester and South and West Yorkshire, including the majority of the area commonly referred to as the Peak. The Park boundaries were drawn to exclude large built-up areas and industrial sites from the park; in particular, the town of Buxton and the adjacent quarries are located at the end of the Peak Dale corridor, surrounded on three sides by the Park. The town of Bakewell and numerous villages are, however, included within the boundaries, as is much of the (non-industrial) west of Sheffield. As of 2006, it is the fourth largest National Park in England and Wales. As always in Britain, the designation “National Park” means that there are planning restrictions to protect the area from inappropriate development, and a Park Authority to look after it-but does not imply that the land is owned by the government, or is uninhabited.

12% of the Peak District National Park is owned by the National Trust, a charity which aims to conserve historic and natural landscapes. It does not receive government funding. The three Trust estates (High Peak, South Peak and Longshaw) include the ecologically or geologically significant areas of Bleaklow, Derwent Edge, Hope Woodlands, Kinder Scout, Leek and Manifold, Mam Tor, Dovedale, Milldale and Winnats Pass. The Peak District National Park Authority directly owns around 5%, and other major landowners include several water companies.

4. The Broads National Park

The Broads is a network of mostly navigable rivers and lakes (known locally as broads) in the English counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. The Broads, and some surrounding land was constituted as a special area with a level of protection similar to a UK National Park by The Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Act of 1988. The Broads Authority, a Special Statutory Authority responsible for managing the area, became operational in 1989

The total area is 303 km? (188 sq.miles), most of which is in Norfolk, with over 200 km (125 miles) of navigable waterways. There are seven rivers and sixty three broads, mostly less than twelve feet deep. Thirteen broads are generally open to navigation, with a further three having navigable channels. Some broads have navigation restrictions imposed on them in autumn and winter.

Although the terms Norfolk Broads and Suffolk Broads are used to identify those areas within the two counties respectively, the whole area is sometimes referred to as the “Norfolk Broads”. The Broads has the same status as the national parks in England and Wales but as well as the Broads Authority having powers and duties almost identical to the national parks it is also the third largest inland navigation authority. Because of its navigation role the Broads Authority was established under its own legislation on 1 April 1989. More recently the Authority wanted to change the name of the area to The Broads National Park in recognition of the fact that the status of the area is equivalent to the rest of the national park family but was unable to get agreement from all the different parties. The Private Bill the Authority is promoting through Parliament is largely about improving public safety on the water and the Authority did not want to delay or jeopardise these provisions for the name issue, so the provision was dropped before the Bill was deposited in Parliament.


For many years the broads were regarded as natural features of the landscape. It was only in the 1960s that Dr Joyce Lambert proved that they were artificial features, the effect of flooding on early peat excavations. The Romans first exploited the rich peat beds of the area for fuel, and in the Middle Ages the local monasteries began to excavate the peat lands as a turbary business, selling fuel to Norwich and Great Yarmouth. The Cathedral took 320,000 tonnes of peat a year. Then the sea levels began to rise, and the pits began to flood. Despite the construction of windpumps and dykes, the flooding continued and resulted in the typical Broads landscape of today, with its reed beds, grazing marshes and wet woodland.

The Broads have been a favourite boating holiday destination since the early 20th century. The waterways are lock-free, although there are three bridges under which only small cruisers can pass. The area attracts all kinds of visitors, including ramblers, artists, anglers, and bird-watchers as well as people “messing about in boats". There are a number of companies hiring boats for leisure use, including both yachts and motor launches. The Norfolk Wherry, the traditional cargo craft of the area, can still be seen on the Broads as some specimens have been preserved and restored.

Ted Ellis, a local naturalist, referred to the Broads as “the breathing space for the cure of souls”.

A great variety of boats can be found on the Broads, from Edwardian trading wherries to state-of-the-art electric or solar-powered boats.


The point at which the River Yare and the River Waveney merge into Breydon Water

The Broads largely follows the line of the rivers and natural navigations of the area. There are seven navigable rivers, the River Yare and its (direct and indirect) tributaries the Rivers Bure, Thurne, Ant, Waveney, Chet and Wensum. There are no locks on any of the rivers (except for Mutford lock in Oulton Broad that links to the saltwater Lake Lothing in Lowestoft), all the waterways are subject to tidal influence. The tidal range decreases with distance from the sea, with highly tidal areas such as Breydon Water contrasted with effectively non-tidal reaches such as the River Ant upstream of Barton Broad.

The broads themselves range in size from small pools to the large expanses of Hickling Broad, Barton Broad and Breydon Water. The broads are unevenly distributed, with far more broads in the northern half of Broadland (the Rivers Bure, Thurne and Ant) than in the central and southern portions (the Rivers Yare, Waveney, Chet and Wensum). Individual broads may lie directly on the river, or are more often situated to one side and connected to the river by an artificial channel or dyke.

Besides the natural watercourses of the rivers, and the ancient but artificial broads, there is one more recent navigation canal, the lock-less New Cut which connects the Rivers Yare and Waveney whilst permitting boats to by-pass Breydon Water.

There is also a second navigable link to the sea, via the River Waveney and its link to Oulton Broad. Oulton Broad is part of the Broads tidal system, but is immediately adjacent to Lake Lothing which is itself directly connected to the sea via the harbour at Lowestoft. Oulton Broad and Lake Lothing are connected by Mutford Lock, the only lock on the broads and necessary because of the different tidal ranges and cycles in the two lakes.

In the lists below, names of broads are emboldened to help distinguish them from towns and villages.

5. Queen Elizabeth Park, British Columbia

Queen Elizabeth Park is a municipal park located in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Little Mountain (elevation approximately 168 metres (550 feet) above sea level). Its surface was scarred at the turn of the twentieth century when it was quarried for its rock, which served to build Vancouver's first roadways.


In 1930, the park's floral future was somewhat revealed when the BC Tulip Association suggested the notion of transforming the quarries into sunken gardens. By the end of that decade, the site had been turned over to the Vancouver Park Board for park and recreation purposes, and was dedicated as such by King George VI and his consort, Queen Elizabeth (the present Queen's late mother) on their much lauded visit to Vancouver in 1939, as King and Queen of Canada. From that time, Park staff incrementally transformed the overgrown hillsides into Canada's first civic arboretum, with a generous donation from the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association. The popular quarry gardens were designed by Park Board Deputy Superintendent Bill Livingstone and were unveiled in the early 1960s.

Prentice Bloedel's $1.25 million covered the open reservoirs and built the country's first geodesic conservatory surrounded by covered walkways, lighted fountains and a magnificent sculpture (Knife Edge - Two Piece) by modern artist Henry Moore. The Bloedel Floral Conservatory opened on December 6, 1969 amidst much jubilation with its many climatic zones, displaying a huge variety of plants and a superb selection of free flying tropical birds.


There are several other attractions in the park. These include a pitch and putt golf course, a disc golf course, tennis courts, a lawn bowling club, and a restaurant.

The New Forest is an area of southern England which includes the largest remaining tracts of unenclosed pasture land, heathland and forest in the heavily-populated south east of England. It covers south west Hampshire and some of contiguous southeast Wiltshire.

The name also refers to the New Forest National Park which has similar boundaries. Additionally the New Forest local government district is a subdivision of Hampshire which covers most of the forest, and some nearby areas although it is no longer the planning authority for the National Park. There are many small villages dotted around the area.

The highest point in the New Forest is Piper's Wait, just west of Bramshaw. Its summit is at 125 m (410 ft) above mean sea level

6. History of the New Forest

Like much of England, the New Forest was originally woodland, but parts were cleared for cultivation from the Stone Age and into the Bronze Age. However, the poor quality of the soil in the new forest meant that the cleared areas turned into heathland “waste”. There are around 250 round barrows [1] within its boundaries, and scattered boiling mounds, and it also includes about 150 scheduled ancient monuments.

The New Forest was created as a royal forest around 1080 by William the Conqueror for the hunting of (mainly) deer. It was first recorded as “Nova Foresta" in the Domesday Book in 1086, and is the only forest that the book describes in detail. Twelfth-century chroniclers alleged that William had created the forest by evicting the inhabitants of thirty-six parishes, reducing a flourishing district to a wasteland; however, this account is dubious, as the poor soil in much of the forest is incapable of supporting large-scale agriculture, and significant areas appear to have always been uninhabited. Two of William's sons died in the forest, Prince Richard in 1081 and William Rufus in 1100. The reputed spot of the Rufus' death is marked with a stone known as the Rufus Stone.

As of 2005, roughly ninety per cent of the New Forest is still owned by the Crown. The Crown lands have been managed by the Forestry Commission since 1923. Around half of the Crown lands fall inside the new National Park.

Formal commons rights were confirmed by statute in 1698. Over time, the New Forest became a source of timber for the Royal Navy, and plantations were deliberately created in the 18th century for this specific purpose. In the Great Storm of 1703, about four thousand oak trees were lost in the New Forest.

The naval plantations encroached on the rights of the Commoners, but the Forest gained new protection under an Act of Parliament in 1877. The New Forest Act 1877 confirmed the historic rights of the Commoners and prohibited the enclosure of more than 16,000 acres (65 km?) at any time. It also reconstituted the Court of Verderers as representatives of the Commoners (rather than the Crown).

Felling of broadleaf trees, and replacement by conifers, began during the First World War to meet the wartime demand for wood. Further encroachments were made in the Second World War. This process is today being reversed in places, with some plantations being returned to heathland or broadleaf woodland.

Further New Forest Acts followed in 1949, 1964 and 1970. The New Forest became a Site of Special Scientific Interest in 1971, and was granted special status as the “New Forest Heritage Area” in 1985, with additional planning controls added in 1992. The New Forest was proposed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in June 1999, and it became a National Park in 2005.

Edward Rutherfurd's work of historical fiction, The Forest, is based in the New Forest in the time period from 1099 through 2000.

New Forest National Park

Consultations on the possible designation of a National Park in the New Forest were commenced by the Countryside Agency in 1999. An order to create the park was made by the Agency on 24 January 2002 and submitted to the Secretary of State for confirmation in February 2002. Following objections from seven local authorities and others, a Public Inquiry was held from 8 October 2002 to 10 April 2003, concluding with that the proposal should be endorsed with some detailed changes to the boundary of the area to be designated.

On 28 June 2004, Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael confirmed the government's intention to designate the area as a National Park, with further detailed boundary adjustments. The area was formally designated as such on 1 March 2005. A National Park Authority for the New Forest was established on 1 April 2005 and assumed its full statutory powers on 1 April 2006. The Forestry Commission retain their powers to manage the Crown land within the Park, and the Verderers under the New Forest Acts also retain their responsibilities, and the Park Authority is expected to co-operate with these bodies, the local authorities, English Nature and other interested parties.

The designated area of the National Park covers 571 km? (141097 acres) and includes many existing SSSIs. It has a population of approximately 38,000 (excluding most of the 170,256 people who live in the New Forest local government district). As well as most of the New Forest district of Hampshire, it takes in the South Hampshire Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a small corner of Test Valley district around the village of Canada and part of the Salisbury district in Wiltshire south-east of Redlynch.

However, the area covered by the park does not include all the areas which were initially proposed; excluding most of the valley of the River Avon to the west of the forest and Dibden Bay to the east. Two challenges were made to the designation order, by Meyrick Estate Management Ltd in relation to the inclusion of Hinton Admiral Park, and by RWE Npower Plc to the inclusion of Fawley Power Station. The second challenge was settled out of court, with the power station being excluded. The High Court upheld the first challenge; [13] but an appeal against the decision was then heard by the Court of Appeal in Autumn 2006. The final ruling, published on 15 February 2007, found in favour of the challenge by Meyrick Estate Management Ltd, [14] and the land at Hinton Admiral Park is therefore excluded from the New Forest National Park.


The New Forest Heritage Area covers about 580 km? (143321 acres), and the New Forest SSSI covers almost 300 km? (74131 acres), making it the largest contiguous area of un-sown vegetation in lowland Britain. It includes roughly:

146 km? (36077 acres) of broadleaf woodland

118 km? (29158 acres) of heathland and grassland

33 km? (8154 acres) of wet heathland

84 km? (20756 acres) of tree plantations (“inclosures”) established since the 18th century, including 80 km? (19768 acres) planted by the Forestry Commission since the 1920s.

It is drained to the south by two rivers, the Lymington and Beaulieu.

7. Exmoor

Exmoor is a National Park situated on the Bristol Channel coast of south west England. The park straddles two counties, with 71% of the park located in Somerset and 29% located in Devon. The total area of the park, which includes the Brendon Hills and the Vale of Porlock, covers 267 square miles (691.5 km2) of hilly open moorland and includes 34 miles (55 km) of coast. It is primarily an upland area with a dispersed population living mainly in small villages and hamlets. The largest settlements are Porlock, Dulverton, Lynton, and Lynmouth, which together contain almost 40% of the National Park population. Lynton and Lynmouth are combined into one parish and are connected by the Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway.

Prior to being a park, Exmoor was a Royal Forest and hunting ground, which was sold off in 1818. Exmoor was one of the first British National Parks, designated in 1954, under the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act, [1] and is named after the main river that flows out of the district, the River Exe.

Several areas of the moor have been declared a Site of Special Scientific interest due to the flora and fauna. This title earns the site some legal protection from development, damage, and neglect. In 1993 Exmoor was also designated as an Environmentally Sensitive Area.


There is evidence of occupation of the area by people from times, onward. In the Neolithic period, people started to manage animals and grow crops on farms cleared from the woodland, rather than act purely as hunters and as gatherers It is also likely that extraction and smelting of mineral ores to make metal tools, weapons, containers and ornaments started in the late Neolithic, and continued into the bronze and iron ages. An earthen ring at Parracombe is believed to be a Neolithic henge dating from 5000-4000 BC, and “Cow Castle", which is where White Water meets the River Barle, is an Iron Age fort at the top of a conical hill. [25] Tarr Steps are a prehistoric (circa 1000 BC) clapper bridge across the River Barle, about 2.5 miles (4 km) south east of Withypool and 4 miles (6 km) north west of Dulverton. The stone slabs weigh up to 5 long tons (5,080 kg) apiece and the bridge has been designated by English Heritage as a grade I listed building, to recognise its special architectural, historical or cultural significance. There is little evidence of Roman occupation apart from two fortlets on the coast

Holwell Castle, at Parracombe, was a Norman motte and bailey castle built to guard the junction of the east-west and north-south trade routes, enabling movement of people and goods and the growth of the population Alternative explanations for its construction suggest it may have been constructed to obtain taxes at the River Heddon bridging place, or to protect and supervise silver mining in the area around Combe Martin. It was 131 feet (40 m) in diameter and 20 feet (6 m) high above the bottom of a rock cut ditch which is 9 feet (3 m) deep. It was built, in the late 11th or early 12th century, of earth with timber palisades for defence and a one or two storey wooden dwelling. It was probably built by either Martin de Tours, the first lord of Parracombe, William de Falaise (who married Martin's widow) or Robert FitzMartin, although there are no written records to validate this. The earthworks of the castle are still clearly visible from a nearby footpath, but there is no public access to them. During the Middle Ages, sheep farming for the wool trade came to dominate the economy. The wool was spun into thread on isolated farms and collected by merchants to be woven, fulled, dyed and finished in thriving towns such as Dunster. The land started to be enclosed and from the 17th century onwards larger estates developed, leading to establishment of areas of large regular shaped fields. During the 16th and 17th centuries the commons were overstocked with agisted livestock, from farmers outside the immediate area who were charged for the privilege. This led to disputes about the number of animals allowed and the enclosure of land. During this period a Royal Forest and hunting ground was established, administered by a warden, so that king Charles I could benefit from the fines and rents.

In the mid-17th century John Boevey was the warden. He built a house at Simonsbath, and for 150 years it was the only house in the forest. The Royal Forest was sold off in 1818. The Simonsbath House was bought along with the accompanying farm by John Knight for the sum of ?50,000. Knight set about converting the Royal Forest into agricultural land. He and his family built most of the large farms in the central section of the moor, and built 22 miles (35 km) of metalled access roads to Simonsbath. He built a 29-mile (47 km) wall around his estate, much of which still survives.

In the mid-19th century a mine was developed alongside the River Barle. The mine was originally called Wheal Maria, then changed to Wheal Eliza. It was a copper mine from 1845-54 and then an iron mine until 1857, although the first mining activity on the site may be from 1552 At Simonsbath, a restored Victorian water-powered sawmill, which was damaged in the floods of 1992, has now been purchased by the National Park and returned to working order; it is now used to make the footpath signs, gates, stiles, and bridges for various sites in the park


Exmoor is an upland of sedimentary rocks classified as gritstones, sandstones, slate, shale and limestone, siltstones, and mudstones depending on the particle size. They are largely from the Devonian and early Carboniferous periods (the name Devonian comes from Devon, as rocks of that age were first studied and described here). As this area of Britain was not subject to glaciation, the plateau remains as a remarkably old landform. Quartz and iron mineralisation can be detected in outcrops and subsoil. The Glenthorne area demonstrates the Trentishoe Formation of the Hangman Sandstone Group. The Hangman Sandstone represents the Middle Devonian sequence of North Devon and Somerset. These unusual freshwater deposits in the Hangman Grits, were mainly formed in desert conditions. The underlying rocks are covered by moors and supported by wet, acid soil. The highest point on Exmoor is Dunkery Beacon; at 1,704 feet (519 m) it is also the highest point in Somerset.


Exmoor has 34 miles (55 km) of coastline, including the highest cliffs in England, which reach a height of 1,350 feet (411 m) at Culbone Hill. However, the crest of this coastal ridge of hills is more than a mile (1.6 km) from the sea. If a cliff is defined as having a slope greater than 60 degrees, the highest cliff on mainland Britain is Great Hangman near Combe Martin at 1,043 feet (318 m) high, with a cliff face of 800 feet (244 m). Its sister cliff is the 716 feet (218 m) Little Hangman, which marks the edge of Exmoor.

Exmoor's woodlands sometimes reach the shoreline, especially between Porlock and The Foreland, where they form the single longest stretch of coastal woodland in England and Wales. The Exmoor Coastal Heaths have been recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the diversity of plant species present.

The scenery of rocky headlands, ravines, waterfalls and towering cliffs gained the Exmoor coast recognition as a Heritage Coast in 1991. With its huge waterfalls and caves, this dramatic coastline has become an adventure playground for both climbers and for explorers. The cliffs provide one of the longest and most isolated seacliff traverses in the UK. The South West Coast Path, at 630 miles (1,014 km) the longest National Trail in England and Wales, starts at Minehead and runs along all of Exmoor's coast. There are small harbours at Lynmouth, Porlock Weir, and Combe Martin. Once crucial to coastal trade, the harbours are now primarily used for pleasure; individually owned sail boats and non-commercial fishing boats are often found in the harbours


Uncultivated heath and moorland cover about a quarter of Exmoor landscape. Some moors are covered by a variety of grasses and sedges, while others are dominated by heather. There are also cultivated areas including the Brendon Hills, which lie in the east of the National Park. There are also 32.4 square miles (84 km2) of woodland, comprising a mixture of broad-leaved (oak, ash and hazel) and conifer trees. Horner Woodlands and Tarr Steps woodlands are prime examples. The country's highest beech wood, 1, 200 feet (366 m) above sea level, is at Birch Cleave at Simonsbath. At least two species of whitebeam tree: Sorbus subcuneata and Sorbus `Taxon D' are unique to Exmoor. These woodlands are home to lichens, mosses and ferns. Exmoor is the only national location for the lichens Biatoridium delitescens, Rinodina fimbriata and Rinodina flavosoralifera, the latter having been found only on one individual tree.


Sheep have grazed on the moors for more than 3,000 years, shaping much of the Exmoor landscape by feeding on moorland grasses and heather. Traditional breeds include Exmoor Horn, Cheviot and Whiteface Dartmoor and Greyface Dartmoor sheep. Devon ruby red cattle are also farmed in the area. Exmoor ponies can be seen roaming freely on the moors. They are a landrace rather than a breed of pony, and may be the closest breed to Equus ferus remaining in Europe. The ponies are rounded up once a year to be marked and checked over. In 1818 Sir Richard Acland, the last warden of Exmoor, took thirty ponies and established the Acland Herd, now known as the Anchor Herd, whose direct descendants still roam the moor. In the Second World War the moor became a training ground, and the breed was nearly killed off, with only 50 ponies surviving the war. The ponies are classified as endangered by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, with only 390 breeding females left in the UK. In 2006 a Rural Enterprise Grant, administered locally by the South West Rural Development Service, was obtained to create a new Exmoor Pony Centre at Ashwick, at a disused farm with 17 acres (6.9 ha) of land with a further 138 acres (56 ha) of moorland.

Red deer have a stronghold on the moor and can be seen on quiet hillsides in remote areas, particularly in the early morning. The moorland habitat is also home to hundreds of species of birds and insects. Birds seen on the moor include Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Eurasian Curlew, European Stonechat, Dipper, Dartford Warbler and Ring Ouzel. Black Grouse and Red Grouse are now extinct on Exmoor, probably as a result of a reduction in habitat management, and for the former species, an increase in visitor pressure.

The Beast of Exmoor is a cryptozoological cat (see phantom cat) that is reported to roam Exmoor. There have been numerous reports of eyewitness sightings, however the official Exmoor National Park website lists the beast under “Traditions, Folklore, and Legends”,and the BBC calls it “the famous-yet-elusive beast of Exmoor. Allegedly." Sightings were first reported in the 1970s, although it became notorious in 1983, when a South Molton farmer claimed to have lost over 100 sheep in the space of three months, all of them apparently killed by violent throat injuries. It is reported as being between 4 and 8 feet (1.2 and 2.4 m) from nose to tail. Descriptions of its colouration range from black to tan or dark grey. It is possibly a Cougar or Black Leopard which was released after a law was passed in 1976 making it illegal for them to be kept in captivity outside zoos. In 2006, the British Big Cats Society reported that a skull found by a Devon farmer was that of a Puma, however, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) states, “Based on the evidence, Defra does not believe that there are big cats living in the wild in England. ”

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