Long awaited extensions to the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District National Parks have come into effect today after years of discussion and deliberation.
The two parks now meet at the M6 motorway, bringing some significant hill areas under the protection of National Park status for the first time.
The biggest change is in the Yorkshire Dales, which has grown in size by a massive 24% (or 161 square miles) to include the northern Howgills, Mallerstang and Wild Boar Fell, the Orton Fells, Barbon, Middleton, Casterton and Leck Fells, the River Lune, and part of Firbank Fell and other fells to the west of the Lune valley. That's some prime walking, there.
Mark Corner, from the Yorkshire Dales Society, said:
"We're very excited, we have been working on this for many years and campaigned and lobbied wherever we can."
"Some of the boundaries were picked on an arbitrary basis in the 1950s, so to join it up makes an awful lot of sense. It now should be on everyone's bucket list."
To the west of the M6 corridor the Lake District has increased by 3%, gaining an extra 27 square miles - Birkbeck Fells Common and Whinfell Common to the east, and to the south an area from Helsington Barrows to Sizergh Fell, bits to the north of Sizergh Castle and part of the Lyth Valley.
"These areas have always been special and valued in Cumbria, but now it adds a level of national recognition" said Policy Officer at Friends of the Lake District, Alison Lax.
"These areas really should have been part of the parks in the first place. The landscape's qualities are on a par with everything that was included in the parks previously."
Scores of people joined a celebration this morning by watching the first dawn over the newly expanded Lake District National Park on Scout Scar near Kendal; among them many supporters and campaigners who have worked to see the extensions introduced. They saw in the historic day with eggs and bacon.
- Keen to check out some of the finest hill walking to be found in the newly enlarged Yorkshire Dales? Our epic 2-day route card explores the Orton Fells, Howgills and Wild Boar Fell: see here