Embargoed: for release Monday 26th October 00.01am
Join the celebration on Twitter on Monday 26th October using #tastenationalparks
Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss MP has joined with National Parks England  and a host of local food heroes to celebrate the top quality food and drink produced in our finest landscapes.
Think of England’s ten National Parks and their breathtaking scenery, from the high fells of the Lake District to the tranquil waters of The Broads, will be the first thing that springs to mind. But increasingly, visitors to National Parks are also coming to sample the delicious produce farmed and grown in these beautiful landscapes. In fact food is the most important draw, after landscape, for 60% of visitors to the South Downs National Park.
It makes sense that where the natural environment is being conserved and high environmental standards applied by farmers, the local produce will be all the more special. This is reflected throughout the National Parks, from the high quality meat reared on the hill farms of Northumberland, to the clean and pure rivers of Exmoor which make it the ideal location for the UK’s only caviar farm.
There is a real appetite for foodie tourism in the National Parks, and entrepreneurial businesses are increasingly offering food tours and experiences, cookery courses and fine dining. National Parks are home to six Michelin-starred restaurants, including Michael Caines’ Gidleigh Park which is committed to promoting local ingredients such as Dartmoor lamb. And National Park visitors won’t have to look far for local drinks either: there are plenty of speciality ales to be sampled in the Lake District, while South Downs vineyards produce award-winning sparkling wines.
Food tourism provides a real economic boost that is much-needed in these rural areas. In the Peak District National Park every £10 spent on locally-produced food results in over £25 being re-invested in the local economy; and commercial farms across the National Parks employ some 17,300 people. National Park Authorities have been supporting local producers through schemes such as the New Forest Marque, which promotes sustainable produce made from local ingredients.
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Elizabeth Truss said during a visit to the Wensleydale Creamery in the Yorkshire Dales National Park:
“There is a great resurgence of pride in the UK about our unique heritage of local food and drink and nowhere is that truer than in our National Parks which are teeming with top quality produce.
By legally protecting these foods we can bring greater investment and jobs to local communities and boost tourism for people drawn to the area by the opportunity to enjoy world class food in some of the most stunning landscapes the world has to offer.”
Chair of National Parks England, of the North York Moors National Park Authority, and a farmer, Jim Bailey said:
“What National Parks offer in terms of food and drink is something really special. It’s not a mass-produced commodity, it’s a quality experience that is locally distinctive in the same way that our landscapes are. Visitors to National Parks are drawn by the cultural heritage and warm welcome on offer, and food and drink are a vital part of that.”
Managing Director of award winning The Wensleydale Creamery, David Hartley added:
“We were delighted to welcome the Secretary of State to the Wensleydale Creamery to acknowledge the important role that rural food producers, like ourselves, play in promoting food tourism, boosting the local economy, providing jobs to rural communities and supporting the sustainability of farming locally.
“With a heritage that spans centuries, handcrafted food production in the Yorkshire Dales is at the heart of everything we do. We source milk from over 40 local family farms to help ensure the quality and authenticity of our cheese, contributing more than £10 million to the local Dales’ economy. We’re very proud that our Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese has been recognised with European Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status.”
1. National Parks England is the umbrella organisation that brings together the nine National Park Authorities (NPAs) and the Broads Authority. It exists to support policy and practice by providing a collective voice for the views of the English NPAs; raising the profile of their work; facilitating discussion on issues of common concern; and working in partnership with other bodies. Follow us on Twitter: @natparksengland
2. Protected Foods are designated under EU legislation and aim to protect the reputation of regional products and promote traditional agricultural activity. Products can be designated as "protected designation of origin" (PDO) or "protected geographical indication" (PGI). The UK has a total of 64 products with protected status. Of the Protected Foods specific to England, over one third of them are produced within the English National Parks.
Some examples of products with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) include: Lakeland Herdwick, Dovedale Blue, and Swaledale Cheese.
Some examples of products with Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) include: West Country Beef, Exmoor Jersey Blue Cheese, Traditional Cumberland Sausage, Yorkshire Wensleydale Cheese, and English wine.
Paul Hamblin, Executive Director, National Parks England
Tel: 020 7072 7421 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Meriel Harrison, Policy and Research Officer, National Parks England
Tel: 020 7072 7421 Email: email@example.com
Contact details for media officers for each of the National Parks are available.
Photographs of Secretary of State, Elizabeth Truss MP meeting producers at the Wensleydale Creamery in the Yorkshire Dales National Park are available on request.