Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

This page provides information about the two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Northumberland

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) are places of high scenic quality that have statutory protection in order to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of their landscapes. They have slightly different purposes from National Parks in their role in providing opportunities for recreation.

horse riding North Pennines AONB

AONBs are designated solely for their landscape qualities, for the purpose of conserving and enhancing their natural beauty (which includes landform and geology, plants and animals, landscape features and the rich history of human settlement over the centuries). However, in reality all AONB Partnerships and their staff teams also undertake a great deal of work in supporting local communities in matters relating to conservation and the rural economy and helping people to enjoy and understand the countryside more fully.

They are designated under the provisions of the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act, in order to secure their permanent protection against development that would damage their special qualities, thus conserving a number of the finest landscapes in England for the nation’s benefit.

The Countryside and Rights of Way (CROW) Act 2000 brought in new measures to help protect AONBs further. The role of local authorities was clarified; this now includes the preparation of statutory management plans to set out how they will work with other to care for their AONBs.

The CROW act states that the County Council (and any other statutory) body must have ‘due regard’ to the purpose of AONB designation when carrying out any of their functions.

 Budle bay

There are two AONBs in Northumberland. They both have Partnership made up of statutory bodies and others with an interest in each of the areas. These partnerships are the bodies responsible for co-ordinating efforts to conserve and enhance the AONBs. Northumberland County Council is represented on both AONB Partnerships within the County.

North Pennines AONB

The Northumberland Coast AONB is entirely within Northumberland County and is the narrow coastal strip between Spittal in the north and Amble in the south.

The North Pennines AONB is partly within the county of Northumberland as well as Cumbria and County Durham.