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Campaign for the outdoors

YOUNG people are being encouraged to escape city life and explore the countryside as part of a major campaign.


The high-profile visual campaign will feature at major train stations and on buses across the south east and aims to entice young people out of busy urban areas to discover the ‘breathing spaces’ of national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) including Chichester Harbour.


It comes as public transport operators, including South Western, Southern, Metrobus and Stagecoach, join forces to promote the campaign.


The initiative has also received the backing of Julian Glover, who is currently leading a government review aimed at making England’s most cherished landscapes fit for the future.


Mr Glover said: “This campaign to encourage young people to visit these fantastic landscapes will help show how getting out into nature is something everyone can enjoy, no matter what age, background or experience.”


Launching in the 70th anniversary year since the government passed an Act of Parliament to establish national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty, the campaign comes as research shows millions of people in the UK do not have access to green space.


A YouGov poll also showed Londoners were twice as likely to go to the Lake District than the South Downs, which is only an hour from the capital.


The contemporary posters pay homage to the beautiful vintage postcard-perfect posters from the 1930s when city folk would head into the countryside on trains and buses for long walks.


Almost 90 years on, the campaign aims to connect a whole new generation of urban dwellers with the breathtaking countryside within easy reach.


The campaign is being spearheaded by a partnership of the south east’s protected landscapes, including Chichester Harbour.


Margaret Paren, chairman of National Parks England and of the South Downs National Park Authority, said: “Despite being the most populated part of the UK, the south east is home to some our most special landscapes.


“They are truly breathtaking places, with some of the most stunning views you will find anywhere in the world.


“The sad truth is that too many people, especially young people, don’t even know they exist.


“Not enough people are making use of these incredible green spaces and connecting with nature, which have been shown to have so many mental health and general wellbeing benefits.


“The message is simple. You don’t need expensive walking boots and hiking gear – but with a train or bus ticket it’s easy to get into the heart of these special


“With 2019 marking the 70th anniversary of national parks and AONBs, there has never been a better time to encourage visitors to come and explore these beautiful places that have been designated for the whole nation.”


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