Statutory designations provide the legal status that protects wildlife, landscape and cultural aspects of the countryside.

There are several types of protection covering; nature conservation, landscape conservation and natural heritage conservation.

It is useful to understand what designations are available to areas such as Ashdown Forest.

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
Looking out across Ashdown Forest. Photograph: Tony Watson/Alamy

A precious landscape whose distinctive character and natural beauty are...

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Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

SSSIs are the country's very best wildlife and geological sites...

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Special Protection Area (SPA)

SPAs are strictly protected sites classified by the EC's 'Bird Directive'...

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Special Area of Conservation

SACs are strictly protected sites designated under the EC Habitats Directive...

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Natura 2000

Ashdown Forest is part of the European Natura 2000 Network...

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