There are National Parks all over the world but the designation of AONB is a uniquely British phenomenon.  AONB is Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Lulworth Cove

These are areas of “outstanding landscape whose distinctive character and natural beauty are so precious that it is safeguarded in the national interest”.

Corfe Castle

And Britain has such a diversity of landscapes with ancient woodlands, hay meadows, downs and moors as well as attractive villages.  As a result nearly a fifth of total land area in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is designated an AONB.  (Scotland has no AONBs.  It has NSAs instead!  We’ll look at those next week.)

Lyme Regis

The AONBs are not National Parks due to their small size and lack of wildness, so there is no authority with overall planning control, but they are protected by law.  The aim is to balance use for agriculture and forestry, needs of the local communities and recreation, while at the same time conserving and improving the environment.

Stair Hole

My pictures are of Dorset AONB which covers almost half of that county.

Visit this link for a map showing the locations of all the AONBs.  Scroll down for further details on each.  I hope you find somewhere new to explore.