THE Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are set to visit Somerset to celebrate 70 years of UK National Parks.

The royal pair will be visiting Exmoor National Park on July 17 to mark 70 years since the1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act that gave rise to UK National Parks was passed.

The 500 tickets available for the event were allocated within less than two weeks. Those attending will gather in Simonsbath’s beautiful riverside meadows, at the heart of Exmoor National Park’s former Royal Forest in celebration of all these much-loved places mean to the nation.

Sarah Bryan, Chief Executive of Exmoor National Park Authority, said: “We’re thrilled to be welcoming Their Royal Highnesses to Exmoor and deeply honoured to be hosting this celebration. National Parks offer so much to the country and simply wouldn’t exist¬ were it not for the foresight and determination of those who fought for their establishment.

“We have been amazed and encouraged at the strong demand for tickets from those wishing to help mark this special occasion. We regret anyone without a ticket will be unable to join us due to the limited capacity of the site.”

Rachel Thomas, Chair of the Exmoor Society, who have helped organise the event along with the Exmoor Hill Farming Network (EHFN), said: “As an independent charity, our aim is to protect and promote Exmoor’s national park status. The Big Picnic at Simonsbath will celebrate all that makes Exmoor unique – not only its beauty, wildlife and heritage – but also upland farming livelihoods, produce from the land and the connection with nature so necessary to people’s wellbeing. So we are more than delighted that Their Royal Highnesses will be coming, recognising the national and international importance of the UK’s national parks for all.”

Dave Knight, Chair of EHFN, said: “We are absolutely honoured to welcome Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall to Exmoor. The Prince’s Countryside Fund is one of the Network’s principal funders. Without this ongoing support the network would not be where it is today.”