Tuesday, 4 June 2013

National Park for East Devon and Dorset

East Devon AONB
This is an AONB conserving some of the most unspoilt holiday coast in Britain, yet it also encompasses a surprisingly untouched rural hinterland. It has been a nationally protected landscape since 1963.
The coastal landscapes, stretching from Lyme Regis to Exmouth, show the lush, highly coloured scenery of classic 'postcard Devon'. Devon red sandstone meets the sea in a coastline of sheer high cliffs, steep wooded combes and coves, its line startlingly broken by the white chalk of Beer Head.
The coastline here is internationally important for its geology our 35 mile stretch forms part of the 95 mile long Dorset and East Devon Coast World Heritage Site – England’s first natural World Heritage Site.
Inland, the landscape rises to high, flat and surprisingly remote plateaux, often topped by heathland commons, particularly in the west. In the north it breaks into the hilly country fringing Honiton. The plateau is incised by the north-south flowing rivers Axe, Sid and Otter which wind to the sea through quiet, hedge-bordered meadows.
The AONB's estuaries, heaths and cliff top grasslands are important natural habitats and the 'Undercliffs', the spectacular 8 km landslip near Axmouth, are a National Nature Reserve of great geological and wildlife interest. The AONB's headlands and hilltops show many traces of prehistoric settlement.
East Devon AONB | Visit areas of outstanding natural beauty

The East Devon and Dorset AONBs have been working together for some time now:

"The natural beauty of the East Devon AONB landscape, its dramatic World Heritage Site coastline, internationally important habitats and species and its cultural heritage, is conserved, managed and enhanced to support and benefit present and future generations."
East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - AONB Management Plan


Coastal Corridor
The coastal area is one of the most attractive and important areas for both Dorset and East Devon but also one of the most pressured.  The dynamic nature of the coast, coupled with the increasing impacts of climate change and visitor pressure, present major challenges for the management of the coastal strip.
In recognition of this, a number of organisations like Dorset AONB, East Devon AONB, the National Trust and private landowners, have come together to develop a new and more integrated approach to managing the coastal corridor.  Together, we have developed a new Coastal Corridor Action Plan for the Dorset and East Devon Coast. It will provide a useful framework for working in a more focussed way, making better use of funding and maximising opportunities for communities and businesses.Follow the links below to view the draft Action Plan.
To look at sustainable access along the coast in the long term, In 2009 we commissioned a Waterborne Passenger Transport Scoping Study and now  the stage 2 final report is now available, both which has helped us understand both the constraints and opportunities of transport along the coast and focus action.
Coastal Corridor - Dorset AONB Partnership

And now there are proposals for a new National Park:

Dorset AONB Partnership Board Meeting, 10am, Wednesday 22nd May
Report by: Natural England  
The Dorset and East Devon National Park Group are preparing to submit a proposal to Natural England for consideration of a new National Park. This paper outlines the process that Natural England will follow and the parameters by which National Parks are designated. 
Natural England will be giving initial consideration to suggestions currently received for AONB/National Park designation or boundary variations later this year.
Recent experiences from the New Forest and the South Downs designations: The New Forest always had natural beauty and recreation opportunity but, for many years, National Park designation was not  deemed specially desirable because the area was well protected by New Forest laws and Forestry  Commission land ownership over the core areas. The Government “invited” Natural England to review this position and we were able to make an argument for ‘special desirability’ as well as provide evidence of meeting the two designation criteria. The South Downs originally comprised two AONBs. Natural England were again “invited” by the Government to look again at whether National Park criteria were both satisfied and we found that they were. We provided suitable evidence and designation was confirmed.

Other organisations have embraced the proposals:

Support of a proposal for a Purbeck National Park
Posted on by Purbeck Society on April 15th, 2013
Application to designate the Dorset AONB as a National Park
This special area, which is covered by the Dorset and East Devon Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and the Dorset and East Devon AONBs, is of exceptional landscape, biodiversity, cultural and historical quality and importance. The Dorset Coast and Heaths were considered to be of National Park quality and deserving NP designation in key reports in 1945 and 1947. We understand that only administrative difficulties prevented this designation going forward when other NPs were recommended and designated in the years after 1945.
A National Park on the basis that you propose would, the Society believes, have economic, social and environmental benefits to the area as a whole. Support for a Purbeck National Park - Purbeck Society

1 comment:

Jeremy Woodward said...

Comment from a regular reader:
"Joining the Woodbury pebbles to the Purbeck Healthland would make a magnificent World Heritage National Park.
"This would be sustainability on a grand scale."