50 years of outstanding natural beauty

Harvesting at Sidbury – a living, working landscape. Photo by East Devon AONB

Harvesting at Sidbury – a living, working landscape. Photo by East Devon AONB - Credit: Archant

The half-century birthday of East Devon’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) will be celebrated this year with a series of events, activities and exhibitions stretching from Exmouth through Sidmouth to Lyme Regis.

East Devon has always been known for its beautiful landscapes, stunning coastline, fascinating history and vibrant communities - but in 1963 this was recognised with AONB status.

Festivities kick off in April with Heritage Week culminating in the Peter Orlando Hutchinson Project Conference at Kennaway House in Sidmouth.

Throughout the summer the AONB team and members of the AONB Partnership will be attending the Axe Vale Festival, Heath Week at Woodbury Common and the Honiton Show, with displays describing the many varied projects the AONB supports.

And from January a photographic and a writing competition called ‘Focus on 50’ and ‘Life and Landscape’ will be run.


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Residents will be challenged to walk the length of the 40-mile East Devon Way during the year , either in one go or in chunks, and those who complete the trek will be rewarded with a 50th anniversary certificate.

Local businesses are being encouraged to pledge their support by using the East Devon AONB 50th logo wherever they can. In return they will be included on a supporters’ list and receive free promotion of their business not only on the East Devon AONB stand at high profile local shows, but also on our website.

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The anniversary celebration will take place on Friday, September 20 at Bicton College. Professor Michael Dower CBE, former chief executive of the Countryside Commission, will be the special guest.

He is also son of John Dower, whose work in 1945 laid the foundations for the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 which created the AONB and National Park system.

John Wilding, head of forestry and environment for Clinton Devon Estate, and East Devon AONB Partnership chairman, said: “The East Devon AONB is an inspirational place to live and work and we hope as many people as possible will help us celebrate this amazing landscape.”

For more information go to www.eastdevonaonb.org.uk or contact the team on 01404 46663.

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