There is no denying the fact that the National Parks of Great Britain have incorporated some of the most beautiful and unspoilt parts of this island. As the population of the United Kingdom continues to expand as more and more people choose to relocate here from other parts of the world (especially the newest members of the European Union), finding the ideal retirement destination can definitely prove to be a bit of a problem nowadays. So, many people of retirement age look at the serene beauty of the country’s National Parks; but before you look to do the same, here are 5 things you should know beforehand
Which are the 15 National Parks of Great Britain?
The great thing about the National Parks of Britain is the fact that these are well-distributed across all three countries of Scotland, England and Wales. England has the largest number by far, but then, when you consider that this is the largest country in terms of land area and definitely by population, this makes the most sense.
The National Parks in Scotland are The Cairngorms and Loch Lomond; in Wales you will find The Pembrokeshire Coast, Snowdonia and Brecon Beacons; with the other 10 all in England: The Norfolk Broads, Dartmoor, Exmoor, Lake District, New Forest, Northumberland, North York Moors, Peak District, South Downs and Yorkshire Dales.
Purchasing Property in the National Parks
Once an area has been designated as a National Park in Britain, this automatically means that building and development is heavily restricted. This, in turn, leads to average property prices increasing significantly within the National Park boundaries as more and more people are attracted by the officially recognised natural beauty of the area. Indeed, it is not unusual for property prices in National Parks to attract premiums of around 20% or even higher compared with the local areas outside of the park. This will mean that you are bound to get less property for your money and if you remain adamant about retiring to a National Park, you would usually have to find a compromise in the number of bedrooms and/or overall floor space available to you.
National Parks do seem like idyllic locations to retire to—after all, they represent the best examples of natural beauty to be found in the whole country. However, with such natural beauty comes real isolation in many of the parks and this is a point you really need to think about if you are looking to spend your later years in such areas. More so now than ever before, you need to think about emergency services reaching you: how far are you from the nearest hospital and ambulance station, for example?
This is not the case for all National Parks, though; or it may be to much less of an extent in some parks than others. For example, Dartmoor, the Lake District, Snowdonia and the Scottish National Parks could easily prove to be the most isolated from essential services. Whereas the New Forest, South Downs, Norfolk Broads and Pembrokeshire Coast are not quite so far from what you may need in your everyday life or at times of real emergency.
In addition to the isolation, you would also need to think about the fact that the local climate in the National Parks will often be more extreme than the surrounding areas. There is one very good reason for this: the fact that many of the National Parks incorporate the most mountainous landscapes in our country. This will mean that winters especially are more extreme; bear in mind that for every 200m you rise above sea level, you knock 1 degree Celsius off the values being recorded in the lower lands. This means heavier and more frequent snowfalls, plus stronger and often bone-chilling winds.
With the National Parks of Great Britain come many millions of tourists each and every year. You may have decided to retire to a National Park to get away from the crowds and enjoy a very quiet and relaxed way-of-life; however, tourists may still choose to flock to the area, especially during the school holidays. You need to bear this in mind if you are looking to retire to a National Park as these areas are often not as quiet as you might like to think.