UK National Parks in 100 Seconds


“What do the UK’s National Parks really look like? To see what these landscapes are made-up of, let’s go on a walk. Each second of the walk reveals 1% of our National Parks and how they appear from above. Are you ready for the UK’s National Parks in 100 seconds?”

UK National Parks in 100 Seconds is my latest film. The film was made in collaboration with Director of Photography Jack Smith and is spoken by Cerys Matthews. It was made thanks to the support of nearly 100 crowdfunders.

You can comment on the film on Twitter here.

The film follows on from The UK in 100 Seconds (2018) and The Netherlands in 100 Seconds (2019) that Jack and I made together. This one was particularly hard to make due to challenging weather conditions – including high winds, rain and hail – through the whole week of shooting.

This shoot had a very special field team. I brought along my son Seb, who is doing a diploma in media. Joe, Jack’s brother, is currently doing an apprenticeship with him – so he came along too.

Dan and Seb Raven-Ellison + Joe and Jack Smith

The film was made using Corine Land Cover data. From pastures to forests, this data reveals the percentage of our National Parks that are covered by different kinds of land.

We then travelled to the South Downs, Snowdonia, Cairngorms, Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors, Peak District and Broads National Parks to shoot the film. In each location we secured permissions and then Jack used the drone to film me walking through the landscape.

Here are just a few examples.

Peat Bogs
Salt Marshes
Quarries
Sparse Vegetation
Watercourses
Mixed Forests
Water Bodies
Moorlands
Pastures

With the government committing to protect 30% of the UK for nature recovery, I hope the film helps to make that happen in an effective way.

I also hope that closing question inspires people to imagine what our National Parks might look like in the future.

“Our National Parks were created to conserve and enhance their wildlife, beauty, heritage and use. They’re for all of us to enjoy, care for and benefit from.

So, reflecting on what they look like, and the challenges we face, what could we do to make the most of our National Parks? What do you think?”

One Comment

  • “Beauty” is a highly subjective concept; heritage is interpreted very widely to include modern land management and farming practices now known to be destructive; unrestricted public access can also be destructive. Nature always seems to end up at the back of a long queue. We have an enormous amount of work to do.

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