UK Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

Location of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the UK

UK Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty Map - © (NAAONB)

The UK is home to 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) located across England, Wales and Northern Ireland; Scotland’s equivalent to the AONB are the 40 National Scenic Areas (NSA). Visitors will find some of the finest landscapes in the UK with plenty of natural beauty on show, each area has its own distinctive character and history. Visitors can discover wonderful coastlines, beaches, cliffs, sand dunes, rolling hills, gorges, mountains, wild moor, heathland, flora and much more. From the Chilterns, East Devon and Cotswolds in England to the coastal Gower and Anglesey AONB in Wales to the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland, there are plenty of things to do, see and experience for visitors.

What Are Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)?
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are protected areas owing to their outstanding landscape, natural beauty and distinctive character, they are areas regarded as precious and are safeguarded for the national interest. The AONB title is given to areas in recognition of their importance to the nation and to help ensure their qualities and characters are preserved. The protected areas aim to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the landscape, to facilitate quiet enjoyment of the countryside and to ensure the interests of people living and working in the areas are taken in to account.

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty has the same legal protection for their landscapes as the 15 National Parks have in the UK, where National Parks have their own authorities for planning controls and services the AONB are run by a partnership between local authorities and local communities. AONB are designated as such due to the qualities of each of the areas; these include their fauna, flora, scenic views, historical and cultural associations.

People both live and work in the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and one of the objectives for the AONB is to support the social and economic well being of local communities in ways that help with the conservation and enhancement of the areas. Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Scenic Areas are open for visitors who can enjoy the unique qualities and scenic beauty of the areas.

The first Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty were established back in 1956 with the Gower Peninsula and over the years others have been added with the most recent the Tamar Valley being added back in 1999.

List of UK Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
The UK currently has 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, there are 33 in England, 4 in Wales, 1 located both in England and Wales and 8 in Northern Ireland. There are 40 National Scenic Areas in Scotland. The individual AONB and NSA are outlined below:

England’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty include: Arnside & Silverdale, Blackdown Hills, Cannock Chase, Chichester Harbour, Chilterns, Cornwall, Cotswolds, Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs, Dedham Vale, Dorset, East Devon, Forest of Bowland, Howardian Hills, High Weald, Isle of Wight, Isles of Scilly, Kent Downs, Lincolnshire Wolds, Malvern Hills, Mendip Hills, Norfolk Coast, North Devon, North Pennines, North Wessex Downs, Nidderdale, Northumberland Coast, Quantock Hills, Shropshire Hills, Solway Coast, South Devon, Suffolk Coast and Heaths, Surrey Hills, Tamar Valley.

Wales’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty include: Gower, Clwydian Range and Dee Valley, Llŷn, Anglesey and Wye Valley (located in both Wales and England).

Northern Ireland’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty include: Antrim Coast and Glens, Causeway Coast, Lagan Valley, Mourne, Binevenagh, Ring of Gullion, Sperrin and Strangford Lough.

Scotland’s National Scenic Areas include: Ardnamurchan, Assynt, Ben Nevis, Cairngorms, Coigach, Cuillin, Dornoch Firth, Garvellachs, Glen Affric, Glen Coe, Glen Lyon, Glen Strathfarrar, Hoy, Jura, Keills Chapel, Kintail, Knapdale, Knoydart, Kyles of Bute, Loch Rannoch, Loch Tummel, Lochnagar, Loch Lomond, Lunga (Slate Islands), Mallaig, Moidart, Morar, River Earn, River Tay, St Kilda, Scarba, Shetland, Loch Shiel, Small Isles, South Lewis, Harris and North Uist, South Uist, Tongue, Highland, Trossachs, Trotternish and Wester Ross.

Facts & Figures:
In England and Wales, the 38 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty cover 18% of land.
In Scotland, the 40 National Scenic Areas cover 13% of land.

The oldest AONB is the Gower Peninsula established in 1956.

The newest is the Tamar Valley established in 1999.

The largest AONB is the Cotswolds at 2,038 sq km.

The smallest AONB are the Isles of Scilly at 16 sq km.

The Chilterns AONB

Guide to Chilterns AONB more

Arnside & Silverdale - Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

Guide to Arnside & Silverdale AONB more

Blackdown Hills – Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

Guide to Blackdown Hills AONB more

Cannock Chase – Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

Guide to Cannock Chase AONB more

Chichester Harbour AONB

Guide to Chichester Harbour AONB more

Cranborne Chase & West Wiltshire AONB

Guide to Cranborne Chase AONB more

Dedham Vale AONB

Guide to Dedham Vale AONB more

Dorset AONB

Guide to Dorset AONB more

East Devon AONB

Guide to East Devon AONB more

Forest of Bowland AONB

Guide to Forest of Bowland AONB more

Howardian Hills AONB

Guide to Howardian Hills AONB more

High Weald AONB

Guide to High Weald AONB more

Isle of Wight AONB

Guide to Isle of Wight AONB more

Isles of Scilly AONB

Guide to Isles of Scilly AONB more

Kent Downs AONB

Guide to Kent Downs AONB more

Lincolnshire Wolds AONB

Guide to Lincolnshire Wolds AONB more

Malvern Hills AONB

Guide to Malvern Hills AONB more

Mendip Hills AONB

Guide to Mendip Hills AONB more

Norfolk Coast AONB

Guide to Norfolk Coast AONB more

North Devon AONB

Guide to North Devon AONB more

North Pennines AONB

Guide to North Pennines AONB more

North Wessex Downs AONB

Guide to North Wessex Downs AONB more

Suffolk Coast AONB

Guide to Suffolk Coast AONB more

Nidderdale AONB

Guide to Nidderdale AONB more

Northumberland Coast AONB

Guide to Northumberland Coast AONB more

Quantock Hills AONB

Guide to Quantock Hills AONB more

Shropshire Hills AONB

Guide to Shropshire Hills AONB more

Solway Coast AONB

Guide to Solway Coast AONB more

South Devon AONB

Guide to South Devon AONB more

Surrey Hills AONB

Guide to Surrey Hills AONB more

Tamar Valley AONB

Guide to Tamar Valley AONB more

Wye Valley AONB

Guide to Wye Valley AONB more

Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB

Guide to Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB more

Gower AONB

Guide to Gower AONB more

Llŷn Aonb

Guide to Llŷn AONB more

Anglesey AONB

Guide to Anglesey AONB more
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