Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is an AONB?

In 1949 the government decided to protect identified areas of natural beauty for future generations as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty or AONBs. For further details on AONBs visit the Defra website or our National Association webpages.

2. How many AONBs are there within East Devon?

There are two AONBs within East Devon : Blackdown Hills AONB and East Devon AONB which together occupy some 66% of the district.

3. When were the AONB designations made in East Devon?

The East Devon AONB was designated back in 1963 whilst the Blackdown Hills AONB was designated much more recently in 1991.

With the East Devon AONB approaching its 50th anniversary, we recently produced a fascinating historical account of the designation process and evolution of the East Devon AONB boundary, first proposed in 1957 by Brigadier P.B. Acland (1902-93).  To view this publication online click here (pdf 4mb).

Alternatively you can order your own copy from the team, at a cost of £5.

4. Where is the East Devon AONB Boundary?

The East Devon AONB covers 103 square miles (268 sqkm) including 18 miles of Heritage Coast and the East Devon section of the World Heritage Site ' Jurassic Coast '. The designation covers, or part covers 30 parishes and the boundary extends into and/or skirts the resorts of Exmouth, Seaton and Sidmouth but includes Budleigh Salterton.

Click here to view the AONB area. Another way to check whether your property is in the AONB is by entering your post code on the 'My Neighbourhood'  (click on the planning pages) facility on the District Council website. The definitive boundary can only be viewed using Natural England's dataset as shown in the Magic Map Application - select Designations / Landbased designations / Statutory.

5. What is the East Devon AONB Partnership?

The East Devon AONB Partnership is a joint initiative core-funded by East Devon District Council, Devon County Council and Defra, working to help conserve and manage the East Devon AONB. The Partnership is responsible for the production and delivery of a five yearly Management Strategy, in consultation with communities and agencies active within the AONB.

6. Where do I go for advice about setting up environmental projects within the East Devon AONB?

The East Devon AONB Sustainable Development Fund encourages local people to carry out positive improvements to the local environment. The grant scheme supports projects that conserve, enhance and celebrate the diversity and character of the East Devon AONB area. There are a number of other funding sources available too. 'Making it Local' was a £1.74 million European investment programme covering the East Devon and Blackdown Hills AONB areas and many adjacent market towns (available 2009-2013). A new £1.67m programme is due to start in late summer 2015. 

7. How does the AONB deal with planning?

The East Devon AONB Partnership is consulted by the Planning Authorities (East Devon District and Devon County Council) on developments in the AONB in accordance with an agreed protocol. Any comments in relation to landscape impacts will be considered by the Planning Authority in the same way as other consultations. It is important to stress that the AONB Partnership is not a statutory consultee and has no statutory planning function, unlike National Parks. The AONB Manager responds on behalf of the Partnership, where appropriate and as resource allows.

Consultation responses are made within the context of the Landscape Character Assessment for East Devon, identifying the landscape type the proposal is set within,its key features and the recommended management guidelines for the maintenance of the landscape character.  For further details please see the AONB Planning Protocol .

For further details on planning policies see EDDC Planning pages.

Contact Us

East Devon AONB Partnership
Kennaway House
Coburg Road, Sidmouth
EX10 8NG

Tel: 01404 46663

Email :

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About Us

In England and Wales, our finest landscapes have been conserved through designation as National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty AONB

The East Devon AONB was designated in 1963 and is one of 46 AONBs across the UK. A National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty exists to provide general information about AONBs

The South West Protected Landscapes Forum also exists to provide information and a regional voice for the 14 Protected Landscapes that together make up 38% of the South West of England.

Find out more >