Protected landscapes and sites
The finest landscapes in Wales are protected
to preserve their special qualities. Our glorious National
Parks and stunning stretches of coast need special management.
The importance of Wales’ iconic natural beauty to the country’s
wealth, health and well-being has been legally acknowledged since
1949. The National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act
designated 3 National Parks in Wales and set up what evolved into
the Countryside Council for Wales.
Landscapes are protected either by national law or by local
Welsh lanscapes conserved under UK law are:
National Parks – Large areas designated by law
to protect their special landscape qualities and promote outdoor
recreation. National Parks have their own Authorities, which
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) –
Protected by law because of their special landscape qualities,
wildlife, geology and geography. They have more protection than
other areas under the planning process and, in terms of landscape
and scenery, are equal to National Parks.
Other landscapes earmarked for sensitive management:
Heritage Coasts – Stretches of outstanding,
unspoilt coastline, usually cared for by local authorities. They
account for nearly half of Wales’ coastline.