Peak District National Park plans Covid-safe 70th anniversary celebration with online activities

The Peak District National Park will be marking its 70th anniversary next month and celebrations are already under way.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 12:59 pm

The area was officially designated as the UK’s first national park on April 17, 1951, under Clement Atlee’s Labour Government, 20 years after a group of pioneering ramblers made the case for public access to the countryside with the mass trespass of Kinder Scout.

A programme of events to mark the occasion this year has inevitably been shaped by the pandemic, but the park authority is determined to celebrate and involve the public by focusing on its role in the ‘green recovery’.

Chief executive Sarah Fowler said: “For 70 years the park has been inspiring the lives of thousands of residents and millions of visitors.

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The Peak District National Park turns 70 on April 17 and people can join the celebrations online. (Photo: Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images)

“However we are able to celebrate, I’m sure everyone will want to reflect on the difference our national parks have made throughout the country.”

She added: “Whilst no one could have anticipated the global circumstances in which we find ourselves looking forward to this remarkable milestone, it perhaps holds a mirror to the Peak District’s groundbreaking early years.

“People sought sanctuary within the open spaces that contrasted with our daily and urban lives – just as we are now.”

One of the pandemic-proof anniversary projects is 70 Years, 70 Remarkable People, with new profiles of key figures in the park’s history being published online each week.

In a similar vein, poet and recording artist Mark Gwynne Jones is creating a series of audio artworks called Voices from the Peak with the third chapter due to be released in the coming weeks.

The downloadable soundscapes mix spoken word and field recordings to evoke the atmospheres, wildlife and stories of the region – ideal for wandering in spirit while cooped up at home.

Also well under way is #70kfor70, a fundraising campaign which launched last year to support conservation work and the park foundation’s network of community partners.

For details of all anniversary projects, go to www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/70.