Updated photos highlight the fight to establish National Parks

As part of the 70th anniversary celebrations, last week we teamed up with other campaigning charities to update vintage photos illustrating the fight to establish National Parks.

The historic photos, from the 1920s, 30s and 40s, show figures from the determined mass-movement campaign to protect the countryside for its beauty and recreational opportunities, in which the Ramblers played a key role. This protection was eventually achieved in an Act of Parliament in 1949 that established the National Parks. The new photographs highlight the rich diversity of users of the National Parks today.

Old, black and white photo and new, colour, of people seated on grass with Behold ye Ramblers on their shoe soles 

Left: 1920s Ramblers pose for a picture. Photo credit: Ramblers Association. 
Right: Modern Ramblers pose at the top of Hollins Cross in the Peak District. Photo credit: John Bradley.

Our director of advocacy and engagement, Tompion Platt, said: “We had a great time helping to recreate these fantastic old photos, but it was also an important reminder that there is more to be done. 

“Our National Parks are a wonderful asset giving us the freedom to enjoy walking in beautiful and varied countryside, but we know they can be even better. We will continue to work together to ensure that these fantastic places are accessible to everyone, everywhere, whatever their background or ability.”

As part of a coalition of charities, also made up of Campaign for National Parks, CPRE, Open Spaces Society and the Youth Hostel Association, we hope to draw attention to the challenges currently facing our National Parks as well as celebrating this extraordinary historic achievement. 

Old, black and white, and new, colour photo of two people standing and enjoying a view and in the new, on seated cycles. 

Left: 1930s walkers overlook the beautiful Peak District. Photo credit: Friends of the Peak District
Right: Mountain Trike users update the photo overlooking the Hope Valley. Photo credit Calum McGregor

The 13 National Parks in England and Wales face a number of challenges including threats from development and a need to improve access to the parks, so everyone can enjoy them. 

On behalf of the millions of us who enjoy National Parks and the millions more who would love to, we are calling on Government to mark the 70th anniversary of the Act that created them with action to make them truly accessible for everyone to enjoy.

Old, black and white, and new, colour photo of two people walking a path on a hill 

Left: Walkers look over the valley of Edale in the Peak District. Photo credit: R Chaney
Right: Members of the Peak District Mosaic Group update the photo in the same valley. Photo credit: John Bradley. 

Old, black and white, and new, colour photo of mean standing and admiring a view 

Left: Members of the National Park Commission including Pauline Dower the widow of John Dower who wrote a seminal report ‘The case for National Parks in 1945 (left). Photo credit: LJ Watson
Right: Members of OutdoorLads, a Gay, Bi and Trans outdoor group updating the photo. Photo credit: John Bradley. 

Old, black and white, and new, colour photo of a man leading a line of people up a hill 

Left: Tom Stephenson leads MPs including Barbara Castle on a walk to convince them of the case for National Parks. Photo credit: Ramblers Association
Right: Ramblers’ Tom Platt leads parliamentarians and others on the anniversary walk, including Sir Patrick McCloughlin MP and Ruth George MP, Sarah Muckherjee (member of the Glover review of National Parks), Maxwell Ayamba of the Sheffield Environment Movement, Kate Ashbrook, CEO of the Open Spaces Society, and visually impaired rambler Marika Kovacs. Photo credit: John Bradley.

The celebrations were attended by a number of other organisations and individuals including MPs Sir Patrick McCloughlin and Ruth George, OutdoorLads, National Trust, and Disabled Ramblers. 

The images were updated on a celebratory walk in the Peak District National Park on 22 March attended by hundreds of individuals and organisations, filmed for BBC’s Countryfile. 

You can watch the celebrations on BBC Countryfile this Sunday 7 April at 7.00pm or on iPlayer after the screening.  

By becoming a Ramblers member, you will help us continue to protect access to Britain’s glorious landscapes. Find out more about how to join.