North Devon Coast

National Landscape

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60th Anniversary and AONB Boundary Relay

60th Anniversary and AONB Boundary Relay

North Devon is celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the national designation of its Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1959 with a wide range of events for everyone to enjoy. Pictured are ‘@2Flyikeabird’ hang gliding over Saunton as part of the Relay. The AONB Partnership Chairman Steve Mulberry and the team hosted fifty current and former staff, Partnership members and local organisations at a celebratory event at the Pier House on the 19th September. Presentations by Harry Barton, Chief Executive of Devon Wildlife Trust and Mark Wallace, Director of Beaford highlighted the current context and opportunities to address the climate and ecological challenges facing the AONB, as well as engaging current and future generations with nature and caring for their protected landscapes.

The AONB team have challenged local groups, schools and communities to take part in a relay around the boundary of the AONB as part of the celebrations and some 15 groups are hoping to take part. The relay can involve walking, running, swimming, cycling, snorkelling or any other way to travel along a favourite section of the coastal or inland boundary. Combe Martin Primary School’s Year 6 students launched the AONB Boundary Relay last Tuesday by walking from Hele to Combe Martin beach along the coast path, carrying an AONB relay baton.  Other groups that have taken part include Plastic Free North Devon, Northam Burrows Country Park and Skern Lodge with lots more to come over the next month or so. The Relay is running up until the end of October so if you would like to get involved please get in touch (aonb@devon.gov.uk ).

Other activities include outdoor performances involving soundscapes, walks and street theatre led by Red Herring Productions in Barnstaple, Appledore, Northam Burrows and Braunton Burrows and a public speaking competition on ‘contentious issues facing the AONB’ is planned this Autumn at Bideford and Petroc Colleges.

Jenny Carey-Wood, AONB Manager said “We have one of the most beautiful coasts in the country thanks to the protection of our stunning landscapes. We want to celebrate in many different ways, providing new activities and information so everyone can explore and enjoy the area.”

A new nature tourism map of the AONB can be found at many tourist outlets showing people the wildlife, habitats and beaches to be found across the area to fully discover and enjoy this ‘natural health service’.