The Yorkshire Dales National Park's 50th anniversary celebrations will kick-off on Friday 30 January 2004 with a VIP day.
The likes of Jimmy Saville and Brian Blessed (President of the Council for National Parks) will join other special guests and representatives from the YDNP, local community organisations, Walking for Health groups and local schools to celebrate the official start to a packed programme of activities.
Half-a-century ago this glorious part of the Dales * measuring some 683 square miles - was designated as part of a movement to preserve and enhance the most beautiful areas of Britain and provide opportunities for the people of post-war England to enjoy the benefits of fresh air and the great outdoors. Hence, the Yorkshire Dales National Park was born.
Since then millions of visitors - eight million alone in 2003 - have enjoyed the stunning scenery and wealth of activities this region has to offer. And as the park prepares itself for the next 50 years it aims to 'reach out' to an even broader audience and demonstrate just how accessible the area is, even for those who live in towns and cities.
"There are excellent train services to the edges of the Park, as well as the Leeds-Settle-Carlisle line passing through its heart. The main valleys are well served by buses and there are additional services that run direct from the surrounding area during the summer months. Hopping on a bus or a train is something we would like to encourage to reduce congestion on the roads and maintain the special qualities of the Dales," says the North Yorkshire National Park Authority's 50th Anniversary Co-ordinator, Cathy Bennett.
"In addition, there has never been as much emphasis on the benefits of taking exercise and enjoying the outdoor life. What better place to do this than in the YDNP - it is the county's largest green gym and what's more membership is free.
"With this in mind we know the future lies in being able to promote ourselves to all age and social groups and make them aware of the National Park's environmental importance and the opportunities it provides for enjoyment."
And to demonstrate just how swiftly people can leave the city behind and venture into the country, the launch day proceedings will commence at Leeds Railway Station, where guests will catch a train to Ilkley, before commencing a six-mile walk to Bolton Priory.
Members of the media are invited to attend the official launch. Those wishing to come along are asked to RSVP to Gill Haynes on 01484 603334 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and report to the station reception on Platform 5 at Leeds railway station at 12 noon PROMPT. It will also be possible to join us en route or at our final destination.
- 12 noon PROMPT
Meet at Station Reception on Platform 5 at Leeds railway station.
Welcoming speech by Steve Macaré, Chairman of the YDNPA
Catch train to Ilkley
Alight at Ilkley railway station for light refreshments provided by Bettys Café Tea Rooms. Short presentation by YDNPA.
- 1.45 / 2.00pm
Walk of approximately six miles following the route along the Dales Way to Bolton Priory.
- 4.30pm approx
A few words by Brian Blessed, followed by the focal point of the day - THE LIGHTING OF THE SPECTACULAR FIRE SCULPTURE TO MARK THE LAUNCH OF THE YDNP'S 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS.
Refreshments at Bolton Abbey Village Hall, near Bolton Priory.
DEPART (Return transport to Ilkley provided)