Our vision for the future of parks

Person walks through a park covered in wildflowers

We’re working in partnership with others to find new ways to fund and manage local parks sustainably.

Ensuring everyone has the opportunity to enjoy green spaces is nothing new to us; nearly 125 years ago one of our founders, Octavia Hill, created the National Trust so that green spaces could be ‘kept for the enjoyment, refreshment and rest' of the nation.

They are the green lungs of our towns and cities, locally loved spaces that provide millions of people with opportunities to escape, explore, rest, relax and play.

They keep us healthy, in body and mind, slow the flow of water in otherwise hard urban landscapes, help to clean air and regulate temperature, provide crucial homes for wildlife, and are a vital part of our culture and history.

Future Parks initiative

Just as we are beginning to re-affirm the true value of open spaces to our society and economy, the health of our public parks is under threat due to a dramatic shift in local authority funding.

In response, The National Lottery Heritage Fund and ourselves, with government support, have just announced a multi-million pound initiative to secure the future of the UK’s urban parks and green spaces. In the first project of its kind in the UK, eight urban areas are joining forces in a pioneering programme called the Future Parks initiative.

" We need to give parks a reboot and start thinking about them as essential elements of our communities in the same way we think about housing or transport. "
- Hilary McGrady

The eight places, covering a population of five million people, were chosen in a UK-wide pitch, and selected for their ambitious and creative plans to put green spaces right at the heart of local communities. They are:

• Birmingham
• Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole
• Bristol
• Cambridgeshire (county-wide, covering seven council areas)
• Edinburgh
• Islington and Camden
• Nottingham
• Plymouth

The green space across these places totals almost 20,000 hectares – an area equivalent to about 35,000 football pitches – ranging from parks, woodlands and cemeteries to allotments, playing fields and nature reserves.

The initiative will provide financial investment from our partners, but also use the knowledge from some of our leading experts in conservation, fundraising, volunteering and green space management. This experience will be shared with other councils, to ensure green spaces are continually managed.