The BIG question...
“How does a site get called a country park?”
We often get asked about the process for calling a site a country park, so here is some background on what’s involved and where to find out more.
The 1968 Countryside Act established the concept of country parks and empowered local authorities to call a site by that name. Many of its provisions still apply today.
If you have a new or existing site you now want to call a country park, your first point of contact should be your local authority to confirm the process they need you to follow.
The Act empowered individual local authorities to confirm a site as suitable to use the country park name. It did not define a designation process, with individual authorities empowered to put a local process in place to confirm a site as suitable to be called a country park based on the requirements set out in the Act. National Park Authorities were give the same powers, with the added essential requirement that they consult the local authority whose area the site fell into.
The Country Parks Network and Natural England still advise authorities check a site offers everything expected of a country park before confirming the name can be applied. This check is important to ensure the name is not being applied to inappropriate sites – which arguably has happened on occasions. The Country Parks Accreditation Scheme criteria are useful here as a guide for what a site needs to include.
For more on the history and evolution of country parks see the Natural England website. If you have any questions on this, please drop a line to the Network mailbox .