Country Parks are a lasting and popular legacy of the provisions of the Countryside Act 1968. By 1995 over 220 parks had been established attracting an estimated 30 million visitor per year. However by 1999, it was found that although many good country parks were continuing to improve, a significant number of poor parks were in decline and action was needed to ensure that they had a better future. In the Rural White Paper (2000), the Countryside Agency was tasked with 'issuing guidance on best practice to revitalise the country parks around towns and cities’. In response, they commissioned this study to:
- consider how country parks have developed in the years since their inception;
- gain an accurate understanding of the size and distribution of country parks;
- examine the major issues facing service providers;
- examine the contemporary relevance of country parks and how they might relate to current and planned initiatives.