AS OF yesterday (November 22), all designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) in England and Wales are becoming National Landscapes, including the Tamar Valley.

The new name has been introduced by Government department Defra to reflect their national importance; the vital contribution they make to protect the nation from the threats of climate change, nature depletion and the wellbeing crisis, whilst also creating greater understanding and awareness for the work that they do. 

Defra says the name change “is a significant milestone for the UK and the next step in fully realising the National Landscapes’ vision to be the leading exemplars of how thriving, diverse communities can work with and for nature in the UK: restoring ecosystems, providing food, storing carbon to mitigate the effects of climate change, safeguarding against drought and flooding, whilst also nurturing people’s health and wellbeing”. 

National Landscapes teams have been at the forefront of delivering natural solutions to the main challenges facing the nation for many years. 

The new brand underscores their commitment to redoubling their efforts and engaging with a wider audience. In 2019, teams set themselves the most ambitious targets for nature in the sector and continue to work to meet them.

By 2030, National Landscapes aim that, within their boundaries, at least 200,000 hectares of the most valuable natural areas (Sites of Special Scientific Interest or SSSIs) will be in favourable condition; 100,000 hectares of wildlife-rich habitat outside of SSSIs will be created or restored, and 36,000 hectares of woodland will have been planted or allowed to regenerate. 

National Landscapes Partnerships will also focus on habitat restoration to ensure the protection of some of our most endangered species and increase their work to help more people to enjoy time spent in beautiful places.

There are 46 National Landscapes in the UK, covering 14 per cent of England, Wales and Northern Ireland including moorland, farmland, coast, forests, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Biosphere Reserves, a Geopark and International Dark Sky Reserves. 

Sarah Gibson, manager of the Tamar Valley National Landscape, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be named a National Landscape, which recognises the importance of our work to conserve and enhance our beautiful Nature and heritage at the heart of Devon and Cornwall.”

Martin Howlett, chair of the Tamar Valley National Landscape Partnership said: “We welcome the long-awaited launch of National Landscapes and rebranding of our Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in recognition of nearly 30 years protection and enhancement of our celebrated corner of the South West and duly acknowledging its equal status alongside our near neighbour of Dartmoor National Park.

“In promoting and showcasing all that is best of the new Tamar Valley National Landscape, we are reminded that a vibrant and thriving community remain at the true heart and that our historic river border continues to act as the link and bridge that binds our two great counties in recognition of its natural beauty– as to which comes first, the jam or cream, we chose to endorse them both in celebration!”