Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (UK)

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Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, AONB, are a type of national park in the UK. Work has begun on getting these into OpenStreetMap (see also United Kingdom national parks). The first AONB, the Gower, was created in 1956.

Sources for Boundary Routes

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 has successfully made a request for a copy of the Malvern Hills Designation Order [1]. 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

AONB Created Boundary Relation Complete Notes
Arnside and Silverdale
Blackdown Hills
Cannock Chase 1958
Chichester Harbour
Chiltern Hills 1964
Cornwall AONB 1959 Includes Bodmin Moor
Cotswolds 1966 relation 166570 100% Some sections guesswork
Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs
Dedham Vale
Dorset AONB
East Devon AONB
East Hampshire AONB
Forest of Bowland
High Weald
Howardian Hills 1987 relation 383665
Isle of Wight AONB
Isles of Scilly
Kent Downs
Lincolnshire Wolds relation 3317398
Malvern Hills 1959 relation 233879 100% Designation order used to determine route
Mendip Hills
Norfolk Coast 1968
North Devon AONB
North Pennines
Northumberland Coast
North Wessex Downs
Quantock Hills 1956 relation 1916427 100% Designation Order used to determine route
Shropshire Hills 1958
Solway Coast
South Devon
South Hampshire Coast
Suffolk Coast and Heaths
Surrey Hills
Tamar Valley
Wye Valley 1971 relation 357729
Clwydian Range
Moel Famau
Gower Peninsula 1956
Llŷn Peninsula
Antrim Coast and Glens
Causeway Coast relation 1430482 100%
Lagan Valley
Lecale Coast AONB
Mountains of Mourne
North Derry
Ring of Gullion
Sperrins relation 1429005 100%
Strangford & Lecale relation 1428604 100%


How to tag AONBs has been a source of some dispute. The Cotswold AONB was initially tagged as follows.

type=boundary + boundary=national_park + name=*

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.)