Broads National Park

When I first published my Kindle book “The Broads: A unique National Park” in 2013, it came under fire from certain quarters. “You can’t describe the Broads as a National Park,” they said, “because it isn’t one. And if you got that wrong, what else have you got wrong?”

The truth is, I didn’t get it wrong – but my detractors are guilty of a huge slice of pedantry. The legislation which covers the protection and management of the Broads is different from the other National Parks, because uniquely, the Broads is predominantly wetland, with navigation interests. And so the Broads has always been described as “enjoying the same protection as a National Park”, or being “a member of the National Park family.”

But foreign tourists don’t see the distinction. If they’re looking to visit somewhere with scenic landscapes, the National Park tag becomes an important deciding factor. And for an area where a large chunk of the local economy is dependent on tourism, trying to explain that “it’s really rather special, but isn’t a National Park per se” has always seemed to me to be rather akin to shooting oneself in the foot.

Fortunately the Broads Authority has recognised the problem, and this week voted to adopt “the brand”. So from now on, it’s the Broads National Park. Better late than never.

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