Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and National Parks were designated under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 to protect their landscape value for present and future generations. There are three main purposes of designation:

  • To conserve and enhance natural beauty
  • To take account of the needs of agriculture, forestry and other rural industries and of the economic and social needs of local communities
  • To meet the demand for recreation provided it does not conflict with the other purposes and needs listed above

Section 4 of the Countryside and Rights of Way (CRoW) Act 2000 confirms the significance of AONBs and clarifies the responsibilities of local authorities, the Countryside Agency and other organisations in respect of AONBs. These include a statutory requirement for local authorities to produce a Management Plan (to be revised every five years) for any AONB in their area, and a duty on all public bodies to have regard for the purposes of designation when carrying out their function.

Please find below a summary and contact details for each of the AONBs in Somerset. For more information on Exmoor National Park  and the surrounding area please see their website.