Shropshire people celebrate the value of landscape and nature
On Saturday 21 September 2019, around 100 people gathered in Cardingmill Valley to sing songs written about the Shropshire Hills and to form a symbolic heart to highlight the value of landscape as our ‘natural health service’.
At the same time, hearts were being formed in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) all around the country and Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage, read a special commissioned poem, ‘Fugitives’.
These local and national celebratory events were held on the same day a national review recommended boosting support for national landscapes, such as the Shropshire Hills AONB.
The Glover Report, a national review of designated landscapes led by journalist Julian Glover, issued its report after an intensive year of visits and taking evidence.
Commissioned by the Secretary of State at Defra, the report recommends recapturing the zeal and vision which created our national landscapes 70 years ago. Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty should be strengthened with more funding and influence in planning says the report, and along with National Parks need to do much more to address nature recovery and participation by a wider diversity of people.
The Review says these areas have a vital role to play in tackling climate change, and should be overseen by a new National Landscapes Service.
Julian Glover visited the Shropshire Hills AONB in January as part of the Review, and frequently describes Nordy Bank on Brown Clee as one of his favourite places.
Lezley Picton Shropshire Council Cabinet member for culture, leisure, waste and communications, said:
We are hugely proud of the Shropshire Hills AONB and it is wonderful to see people celebrating this.
“The Glover Review recognises the importance of what we have here in the county and sets out a path for how the landscape can become even better and deliver even more benefits to people.
James Williamson, Chair of Shropshire Hills AONB Partnership, said:
We really welcome the publication of the Glover Review’s report. We have been pushing for stronger recognition of the AONB and the social and economic value which the landscape provides. Our small team achieves a lot working with partners, but with more support we can do much more.
The Shropshire Hills were one of the first areas to be designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1958. Covering 23% of the county, the Shropshire Hills AONB extends from the Wrekin to the Clun Forest and from the Stiperstones to the Clee Hills. It is a diverse and tranquil area, with rugged hills, rolling pastoral fields, woods and meadows, picturesque villages and historic buildings, hillforts and ancient monuments.
The Shropshire Hills AONB is one of 46 AONBs in the UK. This designation is recognition of the national value of the area’s landscape, and brings duties on local authorities to conserve and enhance its natural beauty. The management of the AONB is guided by a statutory Management Plan produced by the Shropshire Hills AONB Partnership.
For further information, contact Phil Holden, Shropshire Hills AONB Partnership, Unit 9 Drovers House, The Auction Yard, Craven Arms, SY7 9BZ