An AONB is exactly what it says it is: a precious landscape whose distinctive character and natural beauty are so outstanding that it is in the nation's interest to safeguard them.
There are 41 AONBs in England and Wales (36 wholly in England, 4 wholly in Wales and 1 which straddles the border). Created by the legislation of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act of 1949, AONBs represent 18% of the finest Countryside in England and Wales.
Their care has been entrusted to the local authorities, organisations, community groups and the individuals who live and work within them or who value them. Each AONB has been designated for special attention by reason of their high qualities. These include their flora, fauna, historical and cultural associations as well as scenic views. AONB landscapes range from rugged coastline to water meadows to gentle downland and upland moors.