This week Britain celebrates National Parks Week, so we thought we’d dedicate this week’s #ThrowbackThursday to our amazing National Parks, looking at the stages that have raced through these unique landscapes.

We’ve delved into our archives for some photos over the years, and you can find more on our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages, just click on the links or search #tobmemories

You can find out more about National Parks Week and events going on in your nearest National Park here.

England and Wales have 13 National Parks, all bar one, Pembrokeshire, have at some stage been visited by the Aviva Tour of Britain.  This year again will see British Cycling’s premier road cycling event head into our beautiful National Parks, with the opening stage racing through Snowdonia in North Wales on Sunday 6 September.

Three days later and the race skirts the Northumberland National Park near Wooler on Wednesday 9 September, before venturing into the park a day later on Stage Five where it runs alongside Hadrian’s Wall. Later on in the same stage the Lake District National Park is on the route, as the world’s top riders will race alongside Ullswater before heading for the summit finish at Hartside.

A fourth and final National Park, the Peak District, features on Friday 11 September, with much of Stage Six racing through Britain’s oldest National Park.

The Peak District featured in the first edition of the modern Tour of Britain in 2004, pictured first climbing Holme Moss that year on the second stage, and then below that six years later on the A53 near Flash with the race deciding breakaway including Bradley Wiggins and eventual winner Michael Albasini.  This year’s Stage Six will see the race passing Flash, the highest village in England.

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The Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales may not feature on this year’s route, but have done on a number of occasions over the years. The first occasion in 2010 saw low cloud and heavy rain, but a year later the conditions were much different giving some spectacular shots of the peloton as the header image to this story, and the below from 2011 and 2012 show.

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Elsewhere in Wales the Snowdonia National Park was on the route in 2013 when the race descended from Pen-y-Pass for the finish in Llanberis, won by Mark Cavendish. This year’s Stage One will see the race climb Llanberis Pass for the first SKODA King of the Mountains climb of the 2015 Aviva Tour of Britain and will no doubt see some equally spectacular photos and television coverage.

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Another location with some spectacular climbs is the Lake District National Park. Briefly visited by the race route on numerous occasions, in 2013 Stage Two headed through the heart of the park and over Honister Pass, captured below.  This year the Lake District National Park features on Stage Five as the race heads alongside Ullswater in the north of the area.

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At the opposite end of the country two National Parks featured for the first time, and in the case of the former for the only time so far in the 2007 edition of the race.  Stage One headed through the New Forest, pictured first, while the third day of racing visited Exmoor, with Mark Cavendish losing the Yellow Jersey after a tough days racing.

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The race has since revisited Exmoor in 2008 and 2009, while the South West’s other National Park, Dartmoor featured on the route every year between 2009 and 2014.  Always the scene of big crowds, we’ve included a memory of the summit finish on Haytor from 2013, giving a different view to that usually seen of Simon Yates taking victory.

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Finally the most recent National Park to make its debut on the Aviva Tour of Britain route was also Britain’s most recent National Park, the South Downs, which came into being on 1 April 2011. Last year’s memorable Stage Seven raced through it on its way to Brighton as Dylan Van Baarle moved into the race leader’s Yellow Jersey.

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