So much more than the view

England's landscapes - a hidden powerhouse

Far from being sleepy backwaters, England's finest landscapes contribute more than £20bn each year to our economy - similar to that of Birmingham, according to a new report.

The publication ‘So much more than the view...' from England's Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and National Parks, highlights the wide range of benefits these iconic areas provide to society.

Covering a quarter of England, National Parks and AONBs are our most beautiful and cherished landscapes, with iconic archaeological and historical sites and valuable wildlife habitats. Yet they provide so much more to society than a beautiful view.

More than two thirds of people in England live within half an hour's travel of a National Park or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

AONBs and National Parks welcome more than 260 million visitors who spend in excess of £6bn and support thousands of jobs and more than 85,000 businesses.

Rightly regarded as a treasured national resource and internationally recognised for their special qualities, they provide a base for businesses that rely on a high quality environment; creative and sporting inspiration; homes for people and wildlife; food and drink; and life enhancing experiences for millions of visitors of all ages.

At a local level Somerset is lucky to have all or part of four AONBs and a National Park within it, offering diverse and stunning landscapes to visit.  Quantock Hills AONB, Mendip Hills AONB, Blackdown Hills AONB, Cranborne Chase AONB and Exmoor National Park all offer extraordinary natural beauty, rich wildlife, literary associations and historic features.  Experiencing these and living in harmony with them is an important part of securing good health and wellbeing for Somerset's population.

Environment Minister Rory Stewart said:

"Our British landscapes are among the most beautiful and precious in the world. And such land remains central to the British imagination, to our souls and to our identity.

We would miss such landscapes profoundly if they were gone. We have a deep obligation to protect this land, its farms and its communities.

This report also reminds us that safeguarding our countryside can also generate economic value, how our protected landscapes are increasingly rare in a rapidly developing world and just how precious they are to visitors and residents. However, while we celebrate the fact that they have also to potential to bring prosperity, we must never reduce such places simply to their economic value - they are so much more than that."

Chair of the National Association for AONBs, Philip Hygate said:
"AONB Partnerships and Conservation Boards, and National Park Authorities, with their dedicated small teams, make things happen; translating vision and national policy into local action. "Our staff and volunteers work with local communities, businesses and others, supporting skills development, investing in infrastructure and attracting visitors to promote sustainable rural economies that conserve and enhance the natural environment for the benefit of everyone. Together our volunteers put in over half a million days' work each year to help keep these places special and accessible."

Chair of National Parks England and the North York Moors National Park Authority, Jim Bailey said:
"People are passionate about National Parks and AONBs and care deeply about their future. Those who visit, live or work within, these special landscapes, experience and enjoy the range of benefits that they provide for people and wildlife. They may not realise that these dynamic, living landscapes underpin the economy and the health and wellbeing of society and that all these benefits come at less than £1 per person a year."

The publication also highlights the vital work that the AONB Partnerships and Conservation Boards and National Park Authorities undertake with local people and businesses to help keep these places special. They work to maintain thriving, living landscapes, where natural assets are conserved and enhanced and where people, businesses and communities can prosper, now and in the future.


You can see ‘So much more than the view...' on-line at:
http://www.landscapesforliferesources.org.uk/images/uploads/pdf/So_much_more_than_the_view.pdf
or
http://www.nationalparksengland.org.uk/home/publications-and-documents/so-much-more

 

Georgie Grant - June 2015

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60th Anniversary for the Quantocks

Programme of events for the Quantock Experience week at Halsway Manor, to celebrate 60 years of designation as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Annual Reports

View Annual reports from the Quantock AONB Service

Greater Quantock Landscape Development Fund

The Quantock Hills AONB Service now has a Greater Quantock Landscape Development Fund providing grants of up to £20,000 to local communities, farmers, landowners and individuals. The fund has been provided by EDF Energy and is part of the mitigation measures associated with the Hinkley Point C development.

Information leaflets

Find out more about the geology of the Quantock Hills AONB, why the heathland is so important for birds, the red deer on the Quantocks and why the history of the landscape is so special.

Other organisations and activities in the Quantocks

A few things you might find interesting from organisations we work with in the Quantocks

Quantock Deer Count Results

Annual deer count results for 2010 to 2016

Quantock Hills and Planning

Downloadable documents for you to better understand the Quantock AONB and planning processes

Quantock Hills Joint Advisory Committee (JAC) Papers 2014 - 2016

Papers from the partnership committee the Joint Advisory Committee

Quantock Hills Management Plan 2014 - 2019

This is the the Quantock Hills Management Plan 2014 - 2019. It will guide work carried out to protect and enhance the Quantock Hills by the AONB team and all our partners. It has been agreed by the Secretary of State for the Environment and adopted by Somerset County Council, West Somerset Council, Sedgemoor District Council and Taunton Deane Borough Council.

Quantock Hills Visitor Guide

Quantock Hills Visitor Guide

Recreation Leaflets

a full range of leaflets from circular walks to event guides and leaflets to allow you to enjoy the best of the hills

Terms and Conditions for Quantock Hills Facebook page

Terms and Conditions for http://www.facebook.com/Quantock.hills

Information

Useful Contacts

Quantock AONB Service
Tel: 01823 451 884

Somerset Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01823 652 400
www.somersetwildlife.org

National Trust
Tel: 01823 451 814
www.nationaltrust.org

Forestry Commission
Tel: 01278 732 319