40 years of outstanding natural beauty

Welsh Assembly Government

40 years of outstanding natural beauty

The Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing today (Thursday, 13 December) helped the Isle of Anglesey to celebrate 40 years as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

In 1967, much of the county's coastline was confirmed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), ensuring that its natural beauty would be safeguarded for future generations.

The Isle of Anglesey AONB is predominantly a coastal designation covering most of the 201 kilometre coastline of the Island. It is the largest AONB in Wales and includes important sites such as Newborough Warren National Nature Reserve and several Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

The Isle of Anglesey County Council has celebrated throughout the year with various displays, walks and events, all designed to raise awareness of our AONB and its continued importance to local communities.

Celebrations were concluded when Ms Davidson, addressed the AONB's Joint Advisory Committee and congratulated them on their 40 years of work.

She said:

For forty years the Anglesey AONB designation has ensured that this spectacular coastal landscape has been protected. This outstanding scenery, largely unspoilt, attracts thousands of visitors a year and with increasing coastal access, provides an excellent resource, which is also enjoyed by local people.

The AONB contains some 370 km of public rights of way and the 200km coastal footpath provides excellent walking with spectacular scenery within the vast majority of the designation. The income derived from this supports many of Anglesey’s jobs and services beyond the main tourist sectors.

The Anglesey Coastal Path is a key part of the Assembly Government’s stated aim to secure an all-Wales Coastal Path by 2012, and the people of Anglesey are to be congratulated for very much helping to take the lead here.  
It is equally vital that the AONBs and the National Parks maintain the connection with, and involvement of, the communities within them.

AONB Project Officer, Efan Milner, added:

As Anglesey celebrates 40 years since the AONB's confirmation, it's important to stress that the AONB is not an 'outdoor museum', but a living and working landscape.

During her visit the Minister also visited Tyddyn Môn, to see one of the many Sustainable Development Fund projects on the island.

Tyddyn Môn is a farm that works with young people and adults with learning disabilities. The Minister saw how the Fund had started projects in which artists in residence working with the young people on the farm had created artistic way points, and an outdoor theatre.

The Minister explained:

The Sustainable Development Fund projects link in with the AONB objectives to ensure that the principles of sustainable development and protecting the special qualities of the AONB are maintained.

The Fund has provided an exceptional opportunity for the AONB to engage with new partners, including the private sector. Through the successful delivery of the fund, the AONB has responded to local needs and demonstrated its relevance to these communities, whilst raising awareness of wider sustainability issues.


  • The attached photo is one of the six winning entries in a competition by Anglesey County Council to mark the anniversary. The other winning entries can be seen at www.anglesey.gov.uk
  • The Coastline of Anglesey has long since been recognised for its natural beauty; however it was not until 1961 that it was considered for future AONB designation. The designation order was put forward in 1966 and confirmed on the 13th November 1967.
  • The administration of the AONB is overseen by a Joint Advisory Committee, which consists of elected members and co-opted representatives of organisations wishing to promote and protect the AONB.
  • There are five AONBs in Wales covering a total area of 844 sq kms or 4% of the land area of Wales. Of these, four are wholly in Wales – Anglesey, Clwydian Range, Gower and Llŷn – and one – the Wye Valley is partly in England.
  • They embrace a wide variety of landscapes – the coastal scenery of the Isle of Anglesey, Gower and Llŷn, the hills of the Clwydian Range and the more pastoral, wooded, river landscapes of the Wye Valley.
  • The primary statutory purpose of designating a tract of countryside as an AONB is to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the area.
  • For more information on the Isle of Anglesey AONB, please visit: www.anglesey.gov.uk/aonb
  • The Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) has been running on Anglesey since 2001 when it was launched by the Welsh Assembly in all the AONBs in Wales. The SDF originally operated on an annual budget of £50,000. In 2007-2008, the amount of money available was increased to £100,000 allowing the AONBs to target more projects through out the year.
  • Up to 40 projects have been funded since the launch of the SDF on Anglesey ranging from Harbour Porpoise surveys, sustainable toilets in Newborough Forest, path improvements, creation of a nature reserve, enhancements to the RSPB visitor Centre in South Stack and church ground improvements. Over the six years the scheme has been running, £350,000 has been spent on these projects this in turn has levered in further funding of almost £700,000 resulting in over £1 million being spent in total.

13 December 2007

Related Links

Find out about areas of outstanding natural beauty, where they are and how they are selected.
Information about the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, common land, rights of way, coastal zone management, national parks and Wales Coastal Maritime Partnership
North West Wales is arguably the most beautiful of all the Welsh regions. The Snowdonia mountain range itself may well justify such a claim; it is the tallest and most spectacular in Wales.