Each year Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty across the UK organise special events during Landscapes for Life week, but this year is special – we are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act which paved the way for the legislation to create the UK’s 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
This year’s Landscapes for Life week is themed ‘Natural Health Service’. We’re encouraging local people and visitors to come along to an event or enjoy a walk or cycle ride in their local AONB, and celebrate the pioneering post-war vision that protected these treasured areas for everyone to enjoy.
The week commences with a ‘National Moment’ at 2pm on Saturday 21 September when poet Laureate Simon Armitage will premiere a specially commissioned poem, and readings will take place at events nationwide.
Simon Armitage says: “I was delighted to be asked to work with the National Association for AONBs on this auspicious occasion. They are an institution that safeguards and celebrates all that is good about the world we live in, and an organisation whose values I share and trust in. The relationship between poetry and the land in this country goes back to the very origins of poetic utterance and I’m proud to be making a contribution to that ongoing dialogue. There is no greater challenge for a contemporary laureate and geography graduate than to contribute artistically to a conversation about the natural world and the state of our planet, and to praise those things that are wonderful and of wonder.”
Howard Davies, Chief Executive of the National Association for AONBs, said: “There are 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Each one is incredibly special to both their local communities and those that visit them from further afield. I am deeply moved by the importance people have attached to celebrating these special places during Landscapes for Life week. There are so many opportunities for people to join in and enjoy their local landscape and the benefits to their health and wellbeing that this can bring. I wish all AONB teams great success with their Landscapes for Life Week events and encourage everyone to get involved.”
The 1949 Act that paved the way for the creation of AONBs was part of the post-World War Two democratic settlement efforts which saw the government rebuilding a sense of national identity and thanking citizens for their sacrifices during the war. The Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks that were designated as a result of the act were envisioned as partner organisations to the NHS which was created in 1948. Giving people access to the countryside for exercise, enjoyment and mental health benefits was considered a preventative measure; while the NHS was designed to help people if they became sick.
See www.tamarvalley.org.uk/events to join in with an event near you.
Notes to Editors:
Landscapes for Life Week is the AONB Family’s week (and a bit) long programme of events to help people reconnect with nature by enjoying and being inspired by the UK’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). This year it takes place from Saturday 21st – Sunday 29th September 2019.
During the week follow us on Twitter, @naaonb @AONBFamily #LoveL4L, #NaturalHealthService.
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) are some of the UK’s most outstanding landscapes and belong to an international Protected Landscape Family. There are 38 AONBs in England and Wales, and a further eight in Northern Ireland. For further information about the AONB Family visit www.landscapesforlife.org.uk