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  • Dorset National Park Team

Evidence Summary

The following summarises the case for the Dorset & East Devon National Park.

“Dorset and E Devon is the outstanding candidate for National Park status”

This view is widely supported and is based on:

  • The outstanding quality of the environment and landscape which embraces the UNESCO World Heritage “Jurassic” Coast - the only World Heritage designation for the natural environment in England (that for the Lake District relates to local culture); Dorset contains much of what is left of England’s lowland heath – 80% of which has been lost;

  • The outstanding quality of its biodiversity – four of the top five most biodiverse areas in the country are in Dorset;

  • The “gold standard” (English Heritage) of its cultural heritage with a prehistoric ceremonial landscape rivalling the Stonehenge and Avebury areas, as well as the iron age hillforts, Roman, medieval and Thomas Hardy heritage of rural Dorset’s countryside, villages and towns;

  • The threats posed to this special area by the continuing degradation and deterioration of its natural capital despite the efforts of current organisations;

  • The wide range of its recreational offerings and opportunities which exceeds that in any existing National Park - reflecting the diverse, inclusive and accessible range of coastal and inland activities available to people of all ages and backgrounds;

  • The opportunity to double the currently under-represented coastal areas within existing English National Parks; the Dorset & E Devon NP would add some 90 miles to the length of coastline with associated recreational opportunities; since evidence suggests that young people preference coastal activities over upland experiences, this offers an opportunity to engage young people with the natural world and raise their awareness and understanding of what National Parks have to offer;

  • An inclusive experience with rail transport traversing much of Dorset providing easy access from London, the Midlands, Bristol and elsewhere; the National Park will be adjacent to the largest non-industrial conurbation in the UK – the Bournemouth/Christchurch/Poole “green city by the sea” with opportunities for a productive partnership between the urban and rural areas of Dorset;

  • Landscape scale conservation at the heart of Southern England with the Dorset & E Devon NP partnering with other NPs and with AONBs and other designated area to the east and west;

  • The opportunity to create for the first time a National Park which has an offshore as well as onshore role helping to improve strategic vision, coordination and efficiency, as well as raising awareness and understanding of the interactions between land and sea and supporting those whose livelihoods depend on coastal activities.

A Dorset & E Devon National Park would add substantial value, unparalleled diversity and unique new dimensions to the family of English National Parks.

Evidence underpinning this case was submitted in 2013 and 2014 in response to a designation review by Natural England. This was supplemented in 2018 by further evidence to the Glover Review and in case studies by eg The NT, The Thomas Hardy Society, the East Dorset Archaeological Society, CPRE, independent economic consultants, Bournemouth University, Wessex Mountaineering Club, Dorchester Civic Society and others.

The evidence submissions can be found at HERE

The case studies are HERE

The Dorset & E Devon National Park Team, June 2019

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