The Peak District at 70: What is a National Park? How was it created? Why is it so important?

The Peak District National Park covers 555 square miles of rolling countryside, easily accessible from some of the country's major cities.

The National Park was set up to protect the landscape - and promote the cultural heritage of the area.

One of the early catalysts for its formation was the Mass Trespass of the early 1900s, when hundreds of ramblers, many from the nearby towns and cities, demanded to be able to walk freely in open countryside. Around 400 of them all met on Kinder Scout in 1932.

Then in 1945, a man called John Dower produced a report on how national parks could work in England and Wales. It led to the National Parks Act of 1949 and eventually the parks we have today, which are open to all.

His son is Michael Dower, a former National Parks Officer himself, and he explains that it was part of post-war rebuilding.

There are 15 national parks across the UK, but the Peak District was the first, and 13 million visitors now enjoy the park each year.

"It is important that it is free and available to everybody. And you can enjoy these wonderful landscapes, thanks to the pioneers of way back in the 30s and 40s."

- Roly Smith, Peak District Writer