In an evening filled with nostalgia, insights, and celebration, the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) held its annual meeting on 27 September, commemorating a remarkable 60-year journey dedicated to conservation and community engagement.

Hosted at Woodbury Park, the event began with a warm welcome from AONB Chair Alistair Handyside followed by a review of the AONB’s achievements over the past year, highlighting AONB initiatives and the impactful partnership projects, from AONB Manager Chris Woodruff.

View and download the AONB Annual Review 2023.

The Biodiversity Challenge

Professor Michael Winter OBE, Director of the Centre for Rural Policy Research at the University of Exeter, gave a captivating keynote speech. His talk explored the intricate relationship between cherished landscapes, food and energy security, and the pressing biodiversity challenge, providing a comprehensive perspective on these critical issues.

60 Years of East Devon AONB

Visitors were also taken on a journey through six decades of history as we reflected on the designation and beginnings of our protected landscape. As part of two special projects designed to celebrate our 60th anniversary, the evening featured an exhibition highlighting the valuable contributions of local heritage groups and a glimpse of the striking artwork produced by our creative nature-connection initiative.

Find out more about our AONB 60th anniversary.

The Acland Award

The evening concluded with a heartwarming tribute to exceptional volunteers, with the posthumous presentation of the Acland Award to Mike Green. Mike, a passionate advocate for the East Devon Way and walking in the region, was celebrated for his unwavering commitment to preserving and promoting the AONB.