With the country gradually easing its way out of lockdown, it’s time to start planning a few adventures. April may have given us everything from summer temperatures to winter snow, but the longer and warmer days ahead will offer plenty of great opportunities for a day out.
Of course, some might want to venture no further than the local pub beer garden for their first pint in months. But for others, travel restrictions have made it hard to get out into the countryside, especially for those living in towns and big cities.
However, if you are planning to hop into the car and drive miles to a national park or beauty spot, you will need to take plenty of provisions for the day. After all, you still can’t sit in a cafe and if the erratic spring weather turns, you will definitely want to be able to sit in the car instead of on a bench exposed to the elements.
Of course, provisioning a family for a day in food, snacks and drinks means you’ll need to get a lot in. That’s why it’s a good idea to do a bit of bargain shopping and buy biscuits online to make sure nobody goes hungry between food stops.
As well as the fact that the country is now gradually opening up, there are other very appropriate reasons to head out into the wilds.
While the idea of freedom to roam around has been tied up with Coronavirus restrictions over the past year, a century ago many places were off limits to the general public, with privately-owned land such as moorland and some forests made part of enclosed estates, reserved for the landed gentry for hunting, shooting and fishing.
This lead to popular campaigns for more access and the creation of national parks, with events including the infamous 1932 Great Kinder Trespass in Derbyshire, which happened in April that year.
This event saw a group of walkers deliberately challenging the restrictions by encroaching on the side of the privately-owned mountain. Several of the trespassers were jailed for ‘riotous assembly’ after a fight with gamekeepers trying to block their way.
However, pressure grew and 19 years later, Kinder Scout and much of the surrounding area became the Peak District, Britain’s first national park, with access soon granted to the mountain and other areas. In 2000, open access laws were extended over much more countryside across England and Wales as part of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act.
All this means the Peak District is a very appropriate place to go this month to mark its 70th birthday. But 1951 also saw the creation of three more national parks, with the Lake District being inaugurated in August that year, followed by Snowdonia and Dartmoor in October. There are now 15 across the UK.
The anniversary is being marked by National Parks week 2021, which includes activities for all the family, so why not get the kids involved with that as well as getting out into the fresh air and greenery as well?
It’s definitely time to celebrate a bit of freedom - not just as the Covid threat recedes in 2021, but the greater freedoms to roam the countryside granted decades ago that we can all enjoy today.