Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (UK)
An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is land protected by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW Act). It protects the land to conserve and enhance its natural beauty.
An AONB is an area of countryside in England, Wales or Northern Ireland which has been designated for conservation due to its significant landscape value. Areas are designated in recognition of their national importance, by the relevant public body: Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, or the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. In place of AONB, Scotland uses the similar national scenic area (NSA) designation. Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty enjoy levels of protection from development similar to those of UK National Parks, but unlike with national parks the responsible bodies do not have their own planning powers. They also differ from National Parks in their more limited opportunities for extensive outdoor recreation.
Sources for Boundary Routes
Natural England: locked up in ArgGIS Online? http://naturalengland-defra.opendata.arcgis.com/datasets/areas-of-outstanding-natural-beauty-england
Natural Resources Wales: geojson and shpfile, copyright Natural Resources Wales and OS http://lle.gov.wales/catalogue/item/ProtectedSitesAreasOfOutstandingNaturalBeauty/?lang=en
Northern Ireland Environment Agency geojson and shpfile, OGL https://data.gov.uk/dataset/f803cb72-e3d2-44df-8a0c-19a496bd7a5d/areas-of-outstanding-natural-beauty
Natural England OGL data release|
On 1st April 2012 Natural England started to release data, including Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, under the OGL licence. Although it is always best to use ground-truthed data (i.e. by survey) this is difficult for AONB. It is therefore proposed that we use the Natural England data - please discuss.
AONBs are created by a document known as Designation Order, which includes an OS map with the boundary marked on it. The boundaries may be amended by subsequent orders. We presumably can't use these maps where they are still in copyright, but the Crown Copyright only lasts for 50 years, so the designation orders for any AONBs that were created more than 50 years ago, and haven't been modified since are fine to use. Natural England probably holds copies of all the orders, so we should be able to request them using the Freedom of Information Act.
user:rjw62 successfully made a request for a copy of the Malvern Hills Designation Order . It would appear that, at least in this case, the boundary tends to run along the side of roads, rather than down their centrelines.
List of AONBs
|Arnside and Silverdale||England||1972|
|Cornwall||England||1959||Includes Bodmin Moor|
|Cotswolds||England||1966||100%||Some sections guesswork|
|Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs||England||1983|
|East Devon AONB||England||1963|
|Forest of Bowland||England||1964|
|Isle of Wight||England||1963|
|Isles of Scilly||England||1976|
|Malvern Hills||England||1959||100%||Designation order used to determine route|
|North Wessex Downs||England||1972|
|Quantock Hills||England||1956||100%||Designation Order used to determine route|
|Suffolk Coast and Heaths||England||1970|
|Antrim Coast and Glens||Northern Ireland|
|Causeway Coast||Northern Ireland||100%|
|Lagan Valley||Northern Ireland|
|Lecale Coast AONB||Northern Ireland|
|Mountains of Mourne||Northern Ireland|
|North Derry||Northern Ireland|
|Ring of Gullion||Northern Ireland|
|Strangford & Lecale||Northern Ireland||100%|
National Scenic Areas (NSA) (Scotland only )
- Cuillins of Skye
- Small Isles, of Invernessshire (Rum, Canna, Eigg, and Muck)
Wikipedia link: Category:National Scenic Areas in Scotland
How to tag AONBs has been a source of some dispute. The Cotswold AONB was initially tagged as follows.
However this has been considered by some to be inappropriate as it fails to differentiate national parks from AONBs.
Rather than having a separate boundary=* tag for each type of protected area, we could make use of the designation=* tag record the precise legal status. So designation=national_park for National Parks and designation=area_of_outstanding_natural_beauty for AONBs. (In the tag, the full name is preferable to the abbreviation to aid interpretation by both mappers and data users.)
- “Areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs): designation and management - GOV.UK”. Retrieved 13 December 2018.