Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs)

We have three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Cumbria. These are nationally protected landscapes of special importance. We support, along with other relevant local authorities and Natural England, an AONB Partnership for each area. The Partnerships manage the future of these areas and work with others to conserve and enhance the unique landscape, natural, wildlife and historic character of each area. 

Designated 1972. It straddles the boundary of Cumbria and Lancashire. The Limestone geology and coastal aspect of the area sustains a complex mosaic of habitats. There are many semi-natural ancient woodlands, wildflower-rich limestone grasslands, protected limestone pavements, coastal salt-marshes, rare butterflies and many other diverse habitats.

Designated 1988. Tumbling waterfalls, sweeping moorland views, dramatic dales, stone-built villages, and snaking stone walls contribute to this beautiful place. The impressive shapes and forms the land takes in the North Pennines, from High Force on the River Tees to the sweeping U-shaped valley of High Cup Gill above Dufton, are the product of millions of years of geological processes.

Designated 1964. The area covers most of the English Solway Firth coastline from Rockcliffe to Maryport, with the exception of the town of Silloth on Solway. The area is of international importance for bird life, rare plants and its vast array of different habitats which provide homes for many animals. It also boasts a variety of landscapes including sand dunes, salt marsh, raised mires sand and mud flats and a wealth of rich agricultural land.