Throughout the UK, there are 46 locations designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) – the Gower Peninsula, South Wales – was the first area to be designated back in 1956. But what exactly does this mean? Quite simply, an AONB is an area that’s been singled out for its impressive landscape, distinctive character or natural beauty – and safeguarded in the national interest.
Unique to the UK, AONBs include some of the most important and sensitive natural habitats – from rugged coastlines and dense forests to verdant valleys and idyllic sea loughs. The National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are in charge of protecting, enhancing and securing the future of these beauty spots, so they remain unspoilt and there for us all to enjoy for generations to come.
The Isles of Scilly, covering just 16 km2, are the smallest AONB – but that didn’t stop them getting voted the best AONB by Which members, who love the area’s granite cliffs, hidden coves and sandy beaches – not to mention spotting puffins and grey Atlantic seals. The Cotswolds are the largest AONB – spanning a huge 2,038 km2 – with rare limestone grassland habitats and ancient beechwoods. This doesn’t include urban areas but does cover market towns, such as Chipping Campden.
According to statistics, 66% of people live within 30 minutes of one! The Association for AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) website has a handy interactive map – you can check it out here.
AONBs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland make up 18% of the countryside, over 20% of the English coast and include 12,000 miles of footpaths and bridleways. Millions of people visit them every year – but luckily, that doesn’t mean they’re too busy to enjoy. If you fancy finding out what’s so great about a popular spot, or would like to head to somewhere less discovered, here are the top five most and least visited AONBs.
If you’re lucky enough to live in an AONB, your local planning authority is the place to go with any questions regarding development, building work or changes that you’re thinking about for your home.
At Ventrolla, we’ve worked on many heritage homes that sit within these restricted areas, as window renovation is often the only option. You can hear more about a recent project we completed in the Bridge of Allan Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
If your period home sits within an AONB, conservation area, is listed or you simply want to retain it’s heritage aesthetic, we can help by offering you sympathetic works to your existing timber windows, improving the energy efficiency whilst retaining the look and charm of your period home.
Contact our helpful team today online here or by calling 0800 378 278.