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Authority hosts top conference

[Tuesday 03 November 2009]

A prestigious conference organised by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) is being held in London later this month (November) to look at the way the landscape is shaped by humans.

The day-long event – entitled ‘National Parks and the Historic Environment 1949 – 2069: The Past and the Future’ – is being held on November 13 at the Society of Antiquaries of London.

Speakers include Baroness Andrews, Chair of English Heritage, former Director General of the Countryside Commission Professor Adrian Phillips, who is now a Vice President of the British Association of Nature Conservationists and the Campaign for National Parks and Dave Batchelor, Head of Local Authority Historic Environment Liaison at English Heritage.

Guests at the event, which will be chaired by YDNPA Chief Executive David Butterworth, will include representatives from other national parks, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Natural England and English Heritage.

The YDNPA’s Senior Conservation Archaeologist, Robert White, who is also speaking at the conference, said: “Our National Parks are not natural landscapes – they have been created by people over the last 12,000 years or more. Without human activity there would be no moorland and no patchwork of fields, track ways and villages. The landscape can be read to tell the story of human activity – how communities established themselves and, until recently, lived off the land through farming and exploiting the natural resources of the area.

“This conference aims to celebrate the way in which the natural beauty of the National Parks is directly related to man-made features like drystone walls and barns and the way that farms and buildings in the villages fit in with the landscape because they are made from local materials.

“It is also a celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the signing of the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act that led to the creation of National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and we will be looking forward to what we may be doing in the next 60 years to conserve and enhance their historic environments, especially in the light of the growing threat of climate change.”

Stuart Parsons, the YDNPA’s member Champion for Conservation of Cultural Heritage, said: “The historic environment of National Parks is the foundation stone upon which they were created. If understood and exploited fully, it will become the prime mover in sustainable development and economic growth."

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