OS creates National Park visualisations

With rising health issues, OS MD says we need National Parks more than ever.

3 minute read
In celebration of 70-years of the National Parks, Ordnance Survey (OS) has created a series of stunning data visualisations depicting their extent and landscape.

Great Britain’s National Parks cover a combined area of 23,138 km2 (that’s around 10% of Great Britain - an area slightly larger than Wales). The parks offer British residents and visitors a stunning variety of landscapes to explore. With two parks in Scotland, three in Wales and ten in England, they’re accessible to many.

Managing Director of OS Leisure, Nick Giles, said: “National Parks’ fortnight kicks off on 6 April, so what better time to be inspired to visit one, and try out some of the 61,000 km of paths to follow?

“The outdoors is free. Walking, cycling or running in it is free. It’s a great place to be with friends or family. Or to be by yourself. According to Public Health England, the cost to the NHS and social services of treating the consequent problems of inactivity – obesity, depression, heart problems etc – is around £7.4 billion a year.

"People in Britain are 20% less active than we were in the 1960s, and that figure is likely to double in the years ahead unless action is taken now. In 2016 there were 70,000 deaths as a direct result of too much time sitting rather than being active. We perhaps need the outdoors and National Parks more than ever. The more people that get outside, the greater their opportunity to live longer, stay younger and enjoy life more.”

Facts and figures

From mountains to moorland to coast, there is something for everyone in Britain’s National Parks. Unsurprisingly, the Pembrokeshire Coast boasts the longest coastline at 418 km, while just six of the parks have no coastline at all (Brecon Beacons, Cairngorms, Dartmoor, Northumberland, Peak District and Yorkshire Dales).

The Cairngorms is the largest national park by area.

Largest parks:

  1. Cairngorms (4528 km2)
  2. Lake District (2362 km2)
  3. Yorkshire Dales (2179 km2)

Most densely populated parks:

  1. South Downs
  2. New Forest
  3. Pembrokeshire Coast

Highest points:

  1. Cairngorms, Ben Macdui, 1309 m
  2. Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, Ben More, 1174 m
  3. Snowdonia, Snowdon, 1085 m

Most paths for walkers:

  1. Lake District, 7189 km
  2. Cairngorms, 7028 km
  3. South Downs, 6468 km

Explore OS Maps

You can share your walking, cycling or running routes in Great Britain by downloading the OS Maps App on your phone, PC or laptop

Ordnance Survey
By Ordnance Survey

Our highly accurate geospatial data and printed maps help individuals, governments and companies to understand the world, both in Britain and overseas.