National Parks Cairngorms - Ordnance Survey poster

National Parks Poster from Ordnance Survey

Poster of National Parks in Great Britain

National Parks Breacon - Dennis Maps Ordnance Survey posterThis year is the 70th anniversary of the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act that led to the creation of the 15 National Parks in Great Britain.

To celebrate the anniversary Ordnance Survey have created a poster featuring the stunning variety of landscapes in the National Parks in the order of their creation. Dennis Maps are proud to have printed the poster, which was inspired by old Ordnance Survey maps that used natural colours, but with the addition of a contemporary 3D appearance.

National Parks for the enjoyment of the people

The National Parks were established to protect and care for special landscapes across the country, and make them available for everyone to visit and enjoy.

The locations, from the Cairngorms in Scotland to the New Forest, were chosen to be easily accessible from main centres of population, and this is still where the vast majority of visitors come from - only 7% come from outside the UK.

The most popular activity for visitors is walking, enjoyed by 40%, followed by sightseeing by car, but many other activities are available for the more energetic, including climbing, horse riding, sailing and mountain biking.

Caring for the National ParksNational Parks Yorkshire Dales - Dennis Maps - Ordnance Survey poster

The National Parks may look like works of nature, but in fact they have been shaped by human activity over millennia, particularly by farming. Today they are carefully managed, not only to preserve this heritage but also to protect the environment and livelihoods of those who live there. It’s a delicate balance to maintain the natural environment for the future and to continue to attract visitors, whilst supporting local businesses and providing sufficient affordable housing.

Thousands of historic buildings and sites add to the attraction of the National Parks, and need maintenance by people trained in traditional skills like dry stone walling and thatching. When new building work takes place National Parks archaeologists often take the opportunity to carry out a dig to explore the area and unearth new remains that will shed light on how the area was used in the past.

Landscape, coast and ancient sites

National Parks Lake District - Dennis Maps - Ordnance Survey posterTo name just a few of these ancient sites, Hadrian’s Wall stretches through three National Parks - the North York Moors, Northumberland and the Lake District. On Dartmoor is Higher Uppacott, a medieval longhouse where people and cattle were both housed under a single roof. In the Yorkshire Dales eighteenth century mills reveal the development of the Industrial Revolution, as does a 300 year old blast furnace in Snowdonia.

The first National Park was the Peak District in Derbyshire, founded in 1951 and comprising rugged moorlands, limestone dales and grand stately homes. The most recent, established in 2010, is the South Downs, where you can find ancient woodland, white cliffs, chocolate box villages, and vineyards.

If you enjoy being by the sea, then the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park will appeal. There’s 300 km of coast path to walk along between sandy beaches and quiet coves, while keeping an eye open seaward for seals, dolphins and basking sharks.

The Broads National Park in Norfolk offers a completely different kind of watery landscape. Digging out peat for fuel in the Middle Ages created broad, shallow lakes connected by rivers, teeming with wildlife and punctuated by windmills.

Be sure to take a look at the National Parks website for more information about each of the parks, to follow the latest news on social media, and join in the celebrations by planning your own visit. The wide range of activities and events taking place in the parks provide something for every age and interest.

You can buy the AO size (841 x 1189 mm) National Parks poster from the Ordnance Survey online shop for £14.99.

Saplings in the Heart of England Forest - Dennis Maps

The Heart of England Forest

Why Dennis Maps supports The Heart of England Forest Project

Saplings in the Heart of England Forest - Dennis MapsA fact you may not realise about Dennis Maps is that we are jointly owned by the Estate of Felix Dennis, operating for the benefit of the Heart of England Forest Registered Charity,  and Ordnance Survey, Britain’s mapping agency.

The Heart of England Forest is therefore a project very close to our hearts here at Dennis Maps. It was created by Felix Dennis, the self-made owner of Dennis Publishing, who began his colourful career selling copies of the underground magazine Oz on London’s Kings Road.

A natural entrepreneur, he pioneered computer and hobbyist magazine publishing in the UK, including the bestselling titles Maxim and The Week. He owned land in Warwickshire, and wanted to bring native broadleaf trees back to the local landscape and create woodland the public could enjoy, as well as provide an environment for wildlife.

Felix Dennis planted the first small wood near his home in Dorsington, Warwickshire, in 1996. His vision was to plant at least 300 acres each year to create a joined-up woodland.  The forest is mainly in South Warwickshire and stretches from the ancient Forest of Arden in Warwickshire to the edge of the Vale of Evesham. 

As a poet himself, Dennis no doubt appreciated that The Forest of Arden is the setting for Shakespeare’s comedy As You Like It, and in Elizabethan times covered a vast area that included the sites of modern-day Birmingham and Coventry.

The Heart of England Forest Registered Charity was set up in 2003, and 2017 was a record-breaking planting season, with 185,000 trees planted over 272 acres.

The majority of trees are English oak and ash, and also include birch, cherry, hornbeam, sweet chestnut and rowan. They are planted in a random pattern in woodland blocks separated by wide rides during the planting season of mid November to March.

Forest walks - The Heart of England Forest - Dennis MapsThe charity now manages more than 3600 acres, including both ancient woodland and new areas for planting. There are already two easy walking trails of 1.5 and 3.5 miles that have been mapped out by the Head Forester through new broadleaf forest.

There are plans for off-road bike trails, woodland play areas and camping and a cafe and arts centre. A programme of events runs throughout the summer, including open days at The Garden of Heroes and Villains, a private sculpture garden commissioned by Felix Dennis at Dorsington. Over 50 bronze sculptures are set in grounds that also contain a yew hedge maze, poetry garden and woodland walks.

All funds raised from the sale of tickets to events supports the work of the charity in planting trees, creating wildlife habitats, and woodland education.

There are many ways you can get involved in the project. As a Friend of the Heart of England Forest, making a monthly donation from as little as £3, as a business providing team-building experiences for your staff, as a teacher bringing pupils on a school visit, or as a hands-on volunteer

The Heart of England Forest - Dennis MapsTo give you some idea how much your donation helps, just £5 pays for enough seed to plant a 100m square wild flower meadow in the forest. £60 buys 40 tree coils and stakes that provide protection from rabbit and deer damage and support saplings as they grow into beautiful mature trees.

A visit to the Heart of England Forest is the perfect opportunity to #GetOutside and enjoy all the benefits of spending time in the natural world, breathing fresh air, and taking gentle exercise.

And a step back in time to an age when Britain was still covered in native broadleaf forest. For more information about visiting and ways to participate, please visit the Heart of England Forest website.

Compass and map #getoutside

#GetOutside: do more in the British Outdoors

What's the #GetOutside hash tag all about?

Forest with wooden bridge - #getoutside Dennis MapsOne of our major clients here at Dennis Maps is Ordnance Survey, whose maps have been guiding us around the British countryside for generations. Now the Ordnance Survey campaign #GetOutside is encouraging more of us to get out into the open air and take off for an adventure.

The physical and mental health benefits of being outside in nature are indisputable. Research by the University of Michigan revealed that it helps us to relax, increases attention span and improves memory. Stanford University found it reduces stress and symptoms of depression.

A study in Sweden discovered that hospital patients who could see trees from their window needed less medication and had much better recovery rates.

In Japan doctors prescribe ‘shinrin-yoku’ or forest bathing to patients. It’s been scientifically proved that spending time sitting and walking in the forest has many health benefits, including reducing blood pressure and blood-sugar levels, boosting the immune system, increasing energy and reducing anxiety and anger.

We all instinctively know we feel better for a spell outside in nature, but how do you change habits and start to make time outdoors a regular feature of your life?

Compass and map #getoutside

The Beginner’s Guides on the Ordnance Survey website provide lots of ideas on where to go and what to do. Don’t worry if you’ve never done anything like this before, there are guides to help you learn to use a compass, understand map contour lines and map scales, read grid references and much more.

Plus there’s a huge range of suggestions for what to do in the great outdoors, from walking, cycling and climbing, to water sports and camping. Did you know that Dartmoor is the only place in England where you are legally allowed to wild camp?

There are 15 National Parks in Britain, from the rugged Cairngorms in Scotland to Exmoor in South West England, the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast in South Wales to the Norfolk Broads. They were designated back in the early 1950s to preserve their natural beauty and provide recreational opportunities for the public.

But don’t worry, you don’t have to drive for miles from an urban area to the countryside. The new OS Greenspace map layer is a new way to discover green spaces right on your doorstep.

Available in both the web and app versions of OS Maps, it shows you where to find parks, playing fields, allotments, and other publicly accessible places where you can reconnect with nature.

In every region of Britain #GetOutside Champions, experienced adventurers from the worlds of sport, TV and journalism, are offering their own advice on getting out and about. Ben Fogle, for example, who is well-known for his adventures here and abroad, including rowing the Atlantic, and presents TV programmes about the countryside.

Wheelchair race #getoutsideYou might think only the able-bodied can participate in #GetOutside. Think again! Mel Nicholls is an endurance wheelchair racer and paracyclist, and is currently training for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. She also enjoys sports like sea swimming and climbing, and wants to encourage anyone with a disability barrier to become active outside.

If you’re stuck for where to start there are plenty of ideas on the Adventures page, with routes graded according to difficulty with detailed directions and photos so you can see the terrain you’ll cover, in both town and country.

You can also find suggestions for activities suitable for all the family, places to visit and special events to attend. And don’t forget to follow #GetOutside on Instagram and Twitter to keep up-to-date with all the latest news and share your own tips and experiences.


Forest photo by Ahmad Kadhim on Unsplash

Compass photo by Daniil Silantev on Unsplash

Wheelchair photo by Ariel Pilotto on Unsplash