All designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) in England and Wales are now National Landscapes, including South Devon.

The new name reflects their national importance; the vital contribution they make to protect the nation from the threats of climate change, nature depletion and the wellbeing crisis, whilst also creating greater understanding and awareness for the work that they do.

This is a significant milestone for the UK and the next step in fully realising the National Landscapes’ vision to be the leading exemplars of how thriving, diverse communities can work with and for nature in the UK: restoring ecosystems, providing food, storing carbon to mitigate the effects of climate change, safeguarding against drought and flooding, whilst also nurturing people’s health and wellbeing.

By 2030, National Landscapes aim that, within their boundaries: at least 200,000 hectares of the most valuable natural areas (Sites of Special Scientific Interest or SSSIs), which equates to 1 1⁄4 times the size of London, will be in favourable condition; 100,000 hectares of wildlife-rich habitat outside of SSSIs will be created or restored, which is roughly nine times the size of Manchester; and 36,000 hectares of woodland, which is a little smaller than the Isle of Wight, will have been planted or allowed to regenerate.

National Landscapes Partnerships will also focus on habitat restoration to ensure the protection of some of our most endangered species and increase their work to help more people to enjoy time spent in beautiful places.

Because of their size and scope, National Landscapes are ideally positioned to address the environmental issues the UK is facing.

There are 46 National Landscapes in the United Kingdomw, covering 14 per cent of the land including moorland, farmland, coast, forests, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Biosphere Reserves, a Geopark and International Dark Sky Reserves.

They are the UK’s nearby countryside – 66 per cent of people in England (44 million) live within 30 minutes of a National Landscape and at least 170 million people visit them every year.

Roger English, Lead Officer for South Devon National Landscape, says: “As we become a National Landscape the team at South Devon is excited about continuing to deliver a wide range of initiatives to deliver for nature and people in increasingly challenging times.

“Our recent work leading the multi-partner development phase of ‘Life on The Edge’ to restore habitats for some of the UK’s rarest invertebrates, has demonstrated how we plan to make a difference with wider community involvement, landowners and farmers.

“Building on our successful track record we look forward to creating meaningful partnerships in the future and welcoming wider audiences to this special place.”