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The Broads Needs You! Why you should vote in the National Park of the Year awards

PUBLISHED: 06:00 31 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:24 31 January 2018

The Broads has been named a finalist in the National Park of the Year awards. Wroxham. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Broads has been named a finalist in the National Park of the Year awards. Wroxham. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

Tourism bodies and leading hire boat companies have urged people to get behind the Broads and vote for the region in BBC Countryfile’s National Park of the Year awards.

The Broads has been named a finalist in the National Park of the Year awards. Potter Heigham. Picture: ANTONY KELLYThe Broads has been named a finalist in the National Park of the Year awards. Potter Heigham. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Broads was recently named one of the five finalists after it’s “mysterious, marvellous landscape” captivated judges.

The world-renowned wetland has been nominated along with Snowdonia, Northumberland, Exmoor and New Forest national parks.

Members of the public are now asked to nominate their favourite with voting open until March 5.

Pete Waters of Visit Norfolk said the Broads was deserving of the title.

The Broads has been named a finalist in the National Park of the Year awards. Potter Heigham. Picture: ANTONY KELLYThe Broads has been named a finalist in the National Park of the Year awards. Potter Heigham. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

“Taking this title would mean the Broads getting the national recognition they deserve and prove, without any further dispute, that they firmly have their place in the pantheon of our great countryside assets.”

The nomination also has the backing of Broads Tourism members, with chairman Greg Munford saying: “We want to win the award and to do that we need the help and support of the public, not just visitors to the area but also those who live in and enjoy the Broads every day.”

Mr Munford said a win would be a boost for the region’s tourism industry.

“Tourism is the largest sector industry in Norfolk accounting for nearly 20pc of all jobs in the county and contributing over £3b to the economy every year.

The Broads has been named a finalist in the National Park of the Year awards. Potter Heigham. Picture: ANTONY KELLYThe Broads has been named a finalist in the National Park of the Year awards. Potter Heigham. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

“So, put simply, a vote for the Broads is a vote for local tourism, a vote for more jobs to be created in the local community and a vote to develop more facilities such as restaurants and visitor attractions to be enjoyed, not just but tourists but also by local people.”

Amanda Mason, marketing director of Herbert Woods said the company fully supported the nomination.

“One of the biggest challenges that we face as a tourism business is a lack of awareness of the Broads, its location and the activities available.

“Being able to use the National Parks branding in our marketing goes some way in addressing this.

The Broads has been named a finalist in the National Park of the Year awards. Picture: Tom MackieThe Broads has been named a finalist in the National Park of the Year awards. Picture: Tom Mackie

“It would be fantastic if everyone would get behind Broads and vote for us to win. So much of our economy relies on tourism (and) to win this award would really help put us on the map.”

To vote for the Broads visit: BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards 2018: National Park of the Year

The uniqueness of the Broads

The Broads is home to some of the country's rarest wildlife. Picture: Brian McFarlaneThe Broads is home to some of the country's rarest wildlife. Picture: Brian McFarlane

The Broads is Britain’s largest protected wetland and third largest inland waterway, with the status of a national park.

Made up of a unique mosaic of gentle landscape, lakes and rivers, it covers 303 square kilometres and is home to some of the country’s rarest plants and animals.

The broad, shallow lakes are man-made rather than natural and began as pits dug for peat to provide fuel during medieval times.

The countryside is dotted with mills and other historic landmarks while towns and villages are also found throughout.

A couple with their bikes next to the River Ant at How Hill. Picture: James Bass PhotographyA couple with their bikes next to the River Ant at How Hill. Picture: James Bass Photography

Visit Norfolk manager Pete Waters said the UK’s National Parks were a wonderful advertisement for the country’s natural capital.

“But the Broads really are unique with 125 miles of navigable, lock-free waterways, more than Venice or Amsterdam; the only English National Park with a city in it, Norwich; stunning scenery, waterside pubs, and superb wildlife watching.”

The Broads has been named a finalist in the National Park of the Year awards. Broads Tours at Wroxham. Picture: ANTONY KELLYThe Broads has been named a finalist in the National Park of the Year awards. Broads Tours at Wroxham. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The competition

The Broads faces some stiff competition for the National Park of the Year award from fellow nominees New Forest, Exmoor, Snowdonia and Northumberland.

All are unique and spectacularly beautiful in their own right.

New Forest is described as being made up of “a tapestry of open heath, deciduous woodland, valley bogs, rivers, alder carr, saltmarshes, mudflats and charming historic villages”.

The Broads has been named a finalist in the National Park of the Year awards. Picture: James BassThe Broads has been named a finalist in the National Park of the Year awards. Picture: James Bass

Exmoor, a wild and remote park, boasts a dramatic coastline, lush woodland, open moorland, deep valleys and attractive fishing villages and towns, while Northumberland, with its woodland, hay meadows and wild moorland, is said to be one of the quietest places in the country.

With nine mountain ranges and multiple peaks over 915m, Snowdonia has 23 miles of coastline, majestic waterfalls and deep green valleys.

Voting ends March 5 after which the winner will be announced.

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