How can you live in a National Park?

“We googled your postcode and it showed up in the Brecon Beacons National Park, so we thought it must be wrong”

That was what they said, when we booked some flooring fitters based in the West Midlands. The idea that people can live in National Parks, or work in them, was a mystery to these guys. What did they think a National Park was? A bigger version of a town park, with a big fence around some swings and slides and maybe a football pitch or a pond? Or proper wilderness with mountains and wild animals? Maybe they were expecting Yosemite.

Yes there is wilderness. But National Parks in the UK also have farmers. And houses. And doctors, and schools, and shops, and businesses. Everything that you need to live.

However, in a National Park these ‘essentials’ are present in a way that contributes to the very special character of the area. So priority is given to maintaining and improving the environment – both the landscape and wildlife. Development of all buildings is tightly controlled. And residents and businesses have to behave in ways that complement the aims of the National Park, to ensure it remains very special.

So that’s what we try to do here – preserve and enhance the beauty and peace of this place, whilst stewarding the natural resources on the farm to support our life here. 

There is always tension between those who want to keep the Park exactly as it is, and those who think that it needs to evolve to survive. Maybe that’s the difference between those who come to visit and those whose livelihoods depend on it. But both constituencies have the same desire – to see the Park thrive and continue to be a resource for everyone.

P.S. If no-one lived, or farmed, or did business here, then the Brecon Beacons National Park would look very different. And the character of the landscape would rapidly change. But that’s a topic for another post…