This AONB runs almost the entire 201 kilometres of Anglesey’s coast, running through no fewer than three stretches of Heritage Coast along the way.
Camping in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Camping in the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty of England, Wales and Northern Ireland (AONBs)
There are 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (Scotland has its own National Scenic Area designation). The AONB designation developed from the germ of an idea put forward by John Dower in 1945 and the first region to be awarded the status was the Gower Peninsula in 1956 (the most recent is the Tamar Valley in 1994).
Today the 46 AONBs cover around 18% of the UK countryside and 20% of the English coastline. Some 19,000 km of public footpaths run through AONBs. In short, two-thirds of the UK population live within 30 minutes of an AONB – the theory is most people should have access to some of the most delicate habitats and attractive landscapes in the country.
The primary role of AONBs is to conserve and enhance natural beauty. There are caveats, namely that “account should be taken of the needs of agriculture, forestry, and other rural industries and of the economic and social needs of local communities”. AONBs have similar levels of protection to those of national parks but, unlike national parks, the governing bodies do not have independent planning powers.
Each AONB has its own unique characteristics – exemplified by its landscape, habitats, wildlife and cultural heritage. The role of the AONB organisation is to protect and safeguard it for future generations.
Most AONBs have campsites either inside the designated area or within easy reach. Here we've compiled the definitive list of campsites in and around the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. If this isn't for you, then check out our guide to Camping in our National Parks.
The AONB was created in 1988 and occupies a coastal and hinterland area from Ballycastle in the north to Larne in the south.
This AONB, up in the north west of England, remarkably claims that it hosts more than 50% of the flowering plant species of Britain.
Binevenagh is defined by its stark, austere cliffs with majestic views from the Gortmore viewpoint of Inishowen and the Scottish islands of Islay and Jura.
On the border of Devon and Somerset, this charming AONB is a serene area of natural beauty, rich in wildlife and cultural heritage.
This AONB offers magnificent landscape but also superb outdoor activities, making it popular with cyclists, walkers and horse riders.
Running 30 km along the North Antrim Coast, this AONB is also designated as a World Heritage site and is world famous for the Giant’s Causeway.
Boats and birds. These define most of Chichester Harbour AONB and ensure visitors keep coming.
This is an AONB in a glorious location, just north west of London and convenient for over 10 million people.
This AONB is part of the border between England and North Wales, running south from Prestatyn as far as Llangollen and Corwen.
This AONB is slightly unusual in comprising 12 separate areas within Cornwall. Combined, these account for 370 square miles of the county.
This AONB is synonymous with the classic English pastoral scene of bucolic landscapes and picturesque honey-coloured villages.
This AONB is shaped by chalk, formed after a period 100 million years ago when it was under the sea.
This AONB accounts for about 50% of Dorset and showcases one of England’s finest coastlines.
185 million years ago this AONB was at the bottom of the sea. Today its 268 square kilometres represent a diverse collection of habitats.
In 2005 this was the first area in England to be included in the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas.
The Gower Peninsula in south Wales is 19 miles long, featuring vast sandy beaches, salt marsh and shifting dunes.
This is a rural landscape largely shaped during medieval times and whose character lingers to this day.
Lying north of York, this AONB is of national importance for its Jurassic limestone landscape.
Set on an archipelago 28 miles south west of Cornwall, this AONB covers the whole of the Scilly Isles.
This AONB is a landscape running from the coast and the white cliffs of Dover up to Surrey and the edge of London.
Occupying an area northeast of Lincoln and running broadly parallel to the coast.
Occupying about a quarter of the Llyn Peninsula, this was one of the first areas to be designated AONB back in 1956.
Lying southwest of Worcester, its dramatic landscape straddles Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.
This is a dramatic landscape of sheer gorges, rocky spurs and the lakes of the Chew Valley.
The mountains that define this AONB are perhaps the most dramatic of all Ireland’s landscapes.
Lying to the east of the Pennines in Yorkshire, this is a gorgeous part of the country.
The Norfolk Coast AONB wraps around a long section of coast and covers 451 square kilometres.
This AONB features dramatic cliffs, tumbling waterfalls, secret coves, sandy dunes and wooded valleys.
Lying between the Yorkshire Dales and Northumberland, here’s an AONB brimming with variety.
This AONB is all about chalk – more specifically, the magnificent sweeps of chalk downlands north of Salisbury.
This rugged windswept coast is renowned for its wildlife as well as its rich historical connections.
The Quantock Hills are wild, peaceful and rugged. Running along a 19 km ridge north of Taunton towards the Bristol Channel.
The Ring of Gullion is a circle of low hills - known as a ring dyke - forming a rampart around heather-clad Slieve Gullion.
Lying between Ludlow to the south and Shrewsbury to the north, this AONB occupies 310 square miles in the Welsh Marches.
This AONB is not far from Carlisle and runs along the Cumbrian side of the Solway Firth with a 7m high raised beach running along the coast.
Designated an AONB back in 1960, South Devon is spread over 330 square kilometres, about 30% of which is coastal.
Lying south of Londonderry and running from the Strule Valley to the Lough Neagh lowlands.
Strangford Lough is an almost landlocked inlet, sprinkled with countless tiny islets and surrounded by gorgeous undulating hills.
Here’s an AONB whose influence has stretched to the arts world, its distinctive character acting as a muse for musicians and artists.
Popular with day trippers coming from London, this AONB runs east to west through Surrey.
The valley is shaped by the rivers Tamar, Tavy and Lynher and has Dartmoor to the east and Kit Hill to the west.