There are over 250 recognised Country Parks in England and Wales. Most Country Parks were designated in the 1970s, under the Countryside Act 1968 with the support of the former Countryside Commission. In more recent times there has been no specific financial support for Country Parks directly, and fewer have been designated. Most are managed by local authorities, although other organisations and private individuals can also run them. A Country Park is an area designated for people to visit and enjoy recreation in a countryside environment. The purpose of a Country Park is to provide somewhere for visitors who do not necessarily want to go out into the wider countryside. Visitors can enjoy a public open space with an informal atmosphere, as
opposed to a formal park as might be found in an urban area. For this reason Country Parks are usually found close to or on the edge of built-up areas.