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.
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
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.
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.
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.