We have the ambition to launch the South Pennines Park jointly with all our partners and stakeholders in 2021.

In the 1940s, unlike designated National parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the South Pennines missed out on receiving protection and funding as a designated park because it was too industrial. The South Pennines is the only undesignated upland landscape in the country and, if you have visited the area, you will know it is stunning – a wild, wonderful and occasionally wuthering landscape at the place where Yorkshire and Lancashire collide.

The Park covers over 420miles², it is home to over 660,000 people and easily accessible to over eight million more from the surrounding city regions of Leeds, Manchester and East Lancashire. This unique landscape has one of the country’s highest proportions of nature designations, boasting two Special Areas of Conservation and 15 Sites of Special Scientific Interest, plus 2,600 miles of rights of way, including two national trails and the Pennine Bridleway


In the wider English context, the South Pennines Park will also work on ensuring greater strategic alignment to ensure delivery of key national and regional strategies.

These include as the current 25 year Environment Plan, Raynsford Review, infrastructure strategies and the Northern Powerhouse Strategy, and, the current and future programmes for Government emerging from 2020 onward. Together with the emerging international policies and coming out of a worldwide pandemic there is a need to look after our precious ecosystems in order for them and us to flourish through sustainable, inclusive growth and wellbeing. That need is now greater than ever.

Our vision for the park is a landscape that offers a wealth of opportunities for people to improve their health and well-being. Plus one championing investment in a local economic model grounded in natural assets, with resilient natural capital, from bogs to woods, which mitigate the severity of flooding and fire. Working in partnership, the South Pennines Park will harness the landscape’s potential, with its success judged in terms of engaging the disengaged, inspiring the environmental champions of tomorrow and supporting locally distinctive businesses.


The South Pennines is one of the UK’s most celebrated landscapes, but we do not want to simply become a traditional national park or area of outstanding natural beauty.

Rather we want to steer a new path where conservation and sustainable development go hand in hand. These are times of unprecedented change and achieving a more sustainable future has never been more critical. We must find new ways of rising to the challenges of social inequality and climate change by engaging with our communities, promoting sustainable economic regeneration and looking after the natural, built and cultural heritage of the South Pennines.