National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) together cover nearly a quarter of England and represent some of the country’s finest landscapes. Originally conceived for the conservation and enjoyment of the country’s most beautiful and iconic scenery and ecology, protected landscapes are also refuges for some of our most important historic buildings, monuments and landscapes. They contain over 63,000 listed buildings, over 10,000 nationally important historic monuments (about half of those designated in England), and more than 300 designated historic parks and gardens.
Working Together for Protected Landscapes
In 2005, English Heritage signed a ‘Joint Accord’ which pledged our organisation to work closely with National Parks and AONB authorities, as well as other partners, to help further our shared aims of understanding, caring for, valuing and enjoying the historic environments of Protected Landscapes. This formal agreement marked more than a decade of English Heritage undertaking, supporting and commissioning targeted research and conservation projects in Protected Landscapes.
What we see today in Protected Landscapes is seldom purely natural: on the contrary, the natural elements have usually been shaped by thousands of years of human farming, industry and settlement. People today still live and work in protected landscapes, actively helping to manage and safeguard the special qualities they have inherited for future generations.
Our understanding of how past generations have shaped the appearance of every aspect of the landscapes we have inherited can help us to understand the potential impact of future changes and then to manage the process of change sensitively to ensure that the special qualities of each landscape survive for the enjoyment of future generations.
Find out more about English Heritage and Protected Landscapes
The document 'A Clear View: how protected areas work in Ireland and the United Kingdom' provides more information on how and why protected landscapes are managed. English Heritage’s 2009 'Strategy for Protected Landscapes' is also available online.