Skip to content

Celebrating European Day of Parks

23rd May 2018

Every year on the 24th May, National Parks and protected areas across Europe come together to raise awareness of the importance of the natural beauty preserved in protected areas and the importance of conservation and sustainable management in these special areas.

European Day of Parks is also celebrating the European Year of Cultural Heritage; after all, cultural identities across Europe are rooted in the connection to the land. Local traditions and stories of the landscape told and retold have inspired art, craft and literature for generations. And to mark this, a new leaflet has been produced by the UK’s family of National Parks, which gives people an insight into how cultural landscapes, shaped by human activity over thousands of years, have created the areas we know and love today.

This year, the Cairngorms National Park, is delighted to be the host for the annual EUROPARC Conference and to celebrate European Day of Parks we have highlighted some of the events taking place at the conference that brings special attention to our cultural heritage.

Visit the Cairngorms this September as a delegate of the EUROPARC Conference and join us on one of these interesting field trips or workshops:

Field Trips

Animals and the History of Cairngorms – Explore the rich natural and cultural heritage of the Cairngorms National Park. Visit the Highland Wildlife Park to discover Scottish wildlife and endangered animals from the world’s mountains and tundra. In Highland Folk Museum experience how Highland people lived and worked from the 1700s until 1960s. Both visits include walking tours of the sites.

Tomintoul & Glenlivet A landscape partnership in actionDiscover the hidden landscape of Tomintoul and Glenlivet, find out how the Tomintoul & Glenlivet Landscape Partnership is working with the community, local businesses, landowners and agencies to celebrate the rich heritage, improve the environment and develop skills and opportunities for visitors and the community. Includes a visit to the community led Discovery Centre, the famous Glenlivet Distillery and other projects being delivered by the partnership.

Royal Deeside Castles, whisky and culture; Scottish heritage as a tourism product – Scotland is blessed with a distinctive and vibrant cultural identity that is a huge tourism asset. Travel the Snow Roads Scenic Route to Royal Deeside and discover how cultural heritage underpins the local tourism industry.  Since Queen Victoria first established Balmoral Castle as the Scottish holiday home of the Royal Family in 1852, visitors have flocked to the area to enjoy the quintessential Highland scenery, events, castles and whisky. You can follow in their footsteps as we explore the stunning Braemar Castle, now run as a visitor attraction by the local community and enjoy a ‘wee dram‘ at Royal Lochnagar Distillery in the shadow of Balmoral.

Atholl Estates 750 years of Highland history and wildlife – Visit the Blair Atholl community and Atholl Estates and experience 21st century approach to estate management. This area successfully lobbied to join the National Park in 2010. The journey out will include seeing the landscape benefits of modern electric installation with the journey back visiting Scotland’s highest distillery.

Lochnagar – New ways of managing an outstanding Estate that involves people – Take Snow Roads Scenic Route to Royal Lochnagar and enjoy the outstanding landscape of this area. Walking 13km, we’ll ascend 930m to the summit of this iconic Munro, sharing more about the unique relationships between nature, culture, history, landscape and management on a Royal Estate within the Cairngorms National Park. The Balmoral ranger service and our volunteer rangers will be a key part of the day.

There are 16 different field trips to choose from click here for the whole programme. 


Changing Landscapes – Managing perceptions and expectation of natural and anthropogenic changes in protected landscapes

We will explore the contradiction between the public expectation of protected landscapes staying the same and the reality of constant change? How can the European Landscape Convention help define the role of public agencies in setting landscape quality objectives and manage change in line with public aspirations? Case studies including using tools such as wild land mapping, landscape special quality assessment and the opportunities to improve landscape through changes to electricity infrastructure. This workshop is supported by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks.

Natural heritage and cultural identity: the role of interpretation

As part of the celebration of European Year of Cultural Heritage, EUROPARC Federation and Interpret Europe are exploring the role of natural heritage in shaping people’s identity. We will ask how can National Parks enhance the connection between natural heritage and cultural identity and what are some guidance and practical tips to develop this area of interpretation?

There are 20 different workshops to choose from click here for the whole programme


The EUROPARC Conference is the biggest gathering of Protected Area Professionals in Europe. Each year the EUROPARC Federation members, partners and friends gather to discuss and debate the importance of Protected Areas in Europe and to meet, share news, experiences and ideas.

This year the Conference is being held here in the Cairngorms National Park at the Macdonald Aviemore Resort. The theme is ‘European Parks: Inspired by the Next Generation’ and will focus on what Parks can learn from young people and what changes need to be made to manage protected areas for future generations. To find out more about the conference, book tickets and pick your workshops and field trips visit our website today: