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Historic England and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty sign joint statement to manage, conserve and celebrate our iconic historic environment

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/files/HE Statement Launch Bamburgh Sarah and Patrick 16 November credit Rachel Norris.JPG
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Signing the joint statement at Bamburgh Castle -Sarah Tunnicliffe (Historic England Senior National Rural and Landscape Adviser) and Patrick Norris, Chair of the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership

Photo Rachel Norris

England’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Historic England have launched a joint statement outlining their ambition and intent to work together to conserve and enhance the historic and cultural environment of England’s 34 AONB.

The launch took place yesterday at Bamburgh Castle in the Northumberland Coast AONB.

We often think of landscape as a pretty view, but rich layers of history underpin what we see. Centuries of interaction between people and place influence local nature, industry, culture and language; together these particular combinations of factors create unique and special places.  


Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are living and working landscapes and the joint statement also represents a commitment to those communities. Caring for their exceptional heritage does not mean preserving these places ‘in aspic’. Archaeology shows us how these landscapes have changed through history. Further evolution is inevitable as populations shift, our climate changes and agriculture responds to global pressures. Well-managed heritage has a beneficial effect on local communities, boosting the local economy, providing employment and attracting visitors from home and abroad. 


“I am delighted that we can make this joint statement alongside our colleagues at Historic England today. A visit to an AONB is a wonderful experience, an opportunity to see a real, working landscape with modern day relevance wearing its history on its sleeve. These places have been shaped by human endeavour, with waves of people joining communities to shape and contribute to their development for centuries. From the lime kilns of Arnside and Silverdale AONB to the thatched roofs of the Cotwolds, these places are distinctive and special, and it is our duty to conserve and celebrate them for generations to come.”  


Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive for Historic England said: “England’s AONBs contain more than 49,000 listed buildings, over 4,600 nationally important ancient monuments and 300 designated historic parks and gardens. Our AONBs are steeped in history and tell important stories about how people have shaped some of our most beautiful landscapes over centuries. This Joint Statement for the Historic Environment will help with the management and understanding of these exceptional places so they can continue to evolve whilst the characteristics which make them special can be looked after for the future.” 


Patrick Norris, Chair, Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership, hosting the signing, said:  

“This comprehensive statement will play a significant role in the conservation of our shared historic environment, exemplified by the landscapes of our 34 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The statement allows for an inclusive and a diverse approach to our shared historic environment. It will encourage all communities to explore and discover precious historical assets in the AONB network and beyond. It places the historic environment fully alongside scenic and landscape quality, natural and cultural heritage, relative wildness and tranquillity in AONBs.”

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Signing the joint statement (left to right) Iain Robson (AONB Manager), Sarah Winlow (AONB Officer), Patrick Norris (Chairman) - all Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership and Sarah Tunnicliffe (Historic England Senior National Rural and Landscape Adviser)

Photo: Rachel Norris