Call for visits to national parks to be made part of school curriculum
THE Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has called for visits to National Parks to be built into the primary school curriculum.
The suggestion is made in a set of recommendations to an independent review of England's National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) on how to improve access to them.
In its submission the CPRE argues access to nature can have a positive effect on physical health and mental wellbeing.
But it points to 2015 research from Natural England which suggests that 12% of children have no engagement with the natural world.
According to the CPRE, poor public transport links make access to protected landscapes difficult for many people.
It therefore recommends building this access into the school curriculum in order to increase the diversity of visitors and give more people opportunities to enjoy them.
The organisation is calling for schools without easy access to National Parks and AONBs to be prioritised for transport initiatives.
Emma Marrington, senior rural policy campaigner at the CPRE, said: "It is imperative that everybody is able to enjoy these breathtaking places, and only by introducing and promoting affordable and accessible ways to explore them, is this going to be possible for a large portion of society.
"By introducing access opportunities at an early age, by embedding it into the school curriculum, children from all walks of life will be given the chance to fall in love with our countryside.
"By experiencing first-hand, the health and wellbeing benefits that access to these landscapes can bring, we can reconnect people with nature.
"This review is a golden opportunity to help these magical landscapes thrive."