What are AONBs?
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) were brought
into being by the National Parks and Access to the Countryside
Act of 1949. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000
strengthened the conservation and management of AONBs in
partnership with local authorities.
They are fine landscapes, of great variety in character and
extent. The criteria for designation is their outstanding
natural beauty. Many AONBs also fulfil a recreational role but,
unlike national parks, this is not a designation criteria.
The first designation of an AONB was Gower in Wales in 1956
and most recent addition was the Tamar Valley in 1995.
A map of AONBs in England and Wales (and also those in
Northern Ireland) can be found on the National Association of
AONB Guide - Departmental Guidance