Devon has an outstanding natural environment with a range of international and national protected landscapes.
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, along with National Parks, are the nation’s finest landscapes, given statutory protection by Government. There are five AONBs in Devon, three wholly within the County ie North Devon Coasts, East Devon and South Devon and two are cross-boundary with neighbouring authorities, Tamar Valley and Blackdown Hills. Taken with Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks, these “protected landscapes” cover 35% of Devon.
The statutory purpose of AONBs is to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the landscape. They have the same landscape value as National Parks. Each of the 5 AONBs is managed by a local partnership. They bring together rural and landscape management initiatives that assist the delivery of the sustainable development agenda for the County. The distinct and unique qualities of each AONB need care and attention. Action is co-ordinated in each AONB by a small local team guided by a wider community partnership.
The Tamar Valley AONB extends north from the broad estuary at Plymouth to the intricate, deeply incised river that meanders just below Launceston and Tavistock. It borders Dartmoor National Park to the east and the Kit Hill area to the west.
The exceptional cultural significance of the mining landscape transcends international boundaries. The permanent protection of this countryside is important to people all over the world. This is why the area has been given World Heritage status.
‘World Heritage’ status gives recognition of excellence as a world class cultural heritage site and recognises the importance of historic landscapes, its outstanding mine buildings and other features, in addition to its important role in technological innovation and scientific research.