In 1947, the National Parks Committee chaired by Sir Arthur Hobhouse changed the way we view our landscapes forever. Out of their landmark report (the Hobhouse report) came the creation of Britain’s first national parks. Their purpose was to recognise and conserve, but also increase access to landscapes deemed to be ‘of national importance and quality’. However, the Westmorland Dales/Orton Fells were left out of the creation of Britain’s first national parks through a fluke of administration. Thus this nationally acclaimed landscape became hidden for the next 50 years, overshadowed by its neighbours The Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks.

In 2005 Friends of the Lake District published its ‘forgotten landscapes’ report. The purpose was to gain national park status for the Westmorland Dales (including the Orton Fells and northern Howgills). Natural England assessed the case and following extensive public consultation agreed the special qualities and recreational assets of the area still warranted National Park status 50 years on. In 2012 a legal Order was issued, to include these Westmorland Dales in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, and a public inquiry held in 2013. In October 2015 we heard that the Orders have been confirmed and the area of the Westmorland Dales would become part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park on 1 Aug 2016.