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What is a National Landscape?

Simply put a National Landscape is an outstanding landscape with distinctive character and natural beauty so precious that they are safeguarded in the national interest.

In more detail, a National Landscape is an area of land which is protected by various Acts of Parliament, mainly the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 and the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. The acts protect the land to conserve and enhance its natural beauty, which includes:

  • Landscape quality, where natural or human-made landscape is good quality.

  • Scenic quality, such as striking coastal landforms.

  • Relative wildness, such as distance from housing or having few roads.

  • Relative tranquillity, where natural sounds, such as streams or birdsong are predominant.

  • Natural heritage features, such as distinctive geology or species and habitats.

  • Cultural heritage, which can include the built environment that makes the area unique, such as archaeological remains or historic parkland.


There are 46 National Landscapes in the UK covering about 18% of the UK countryside. As well as being home to some of the most precious habitats and species they contain over 19,000km (12,000 miles) of footpaths and bridleways allowing plenty of opportunity to visit and enjoy the outstanding landscapes.

To find out more about other National Landscapes visit the National Landscape Association’s website.

Hills with trees
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