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 The AONB Partnership

The North Pennines AONB Partnership is an alliance of statutory agencies, local authorities and voluntary or community organisations which care about, and for, the area.   

The AONB Partnership is the body responsible for co-ordinating efforts to conserve and enhance the North Pennines.

The work of the AONB Partnership is carried out through the AONB Staff Unit, employed through its accountable body, Durham County Council. The Partnership meets twice a year, to consider important issues related to the conservation and enhancement of natural beauty in the North Pennines AONB and Global Geopark. An Executive Group meets three times a year to provide support to the Staff Unit on operational matters. The Partnership also holds an Annual Forum (see below).

Management Plan

The work of the AONB Partnership and its Staff Unit is guided by the North Pennines AONB Management Plan 2009-14. This statutory plan was produced by the AONB Partnership on behalf of the area's five Local Authorities - whose duty it is to jointly prepare.


Contact Chris Woodley-Stewart (North Pennines AONB Director) on 01388 528801 or for further information on the work of the AONB Partnership and its Staff Unit.

Working Groups

The Staff Unit operates four Working Groups: Access and Recreation; Sustainable Tourism; Historic Environment; and the Geopark Advisory Group. These groups meet three or four times a year. Their purpose is to support project development and the implementation of the AONB Management Plan. They all have 'Terms of Reference' and are an important part of the AONB Partnership structure.

A member of the Staff Unit is assigned to each Working Group:

  • Access and Recreation
    • Simon Wilson (Planning & Strategic Access Officer and Biodiversity Officer)
  • Tourism
    • Shane Harris (Responsible Tourism Lead)
  • Geopark Advisory Group
  • Jon Charlton (Programme Development Manager) 

Annual Forum

The Annual Forum of the AONB Partnership is designed to communicate to the wider community issues important to the conservation and enhancement of the natural beauty of the North Pennines. Specifically it is an opportunity to communicate the activities of the AONB Partnership and its Staff Unit. It is also a mechanism to receive the thoughts, guidance and advice from the wider community. A broad range of organisations and individuals are invited e.g. Parish Councils, the AONB Partnership and its four Working Groups, community groups, partner agencies, Local Authorities, MPs etc.


The AONB Partnership includes representatives from the following organisations:

The Chair of the AONB Partnership is Cllr Eddie Tomlinson (Durham County Council). The Vice Chair is Cllr Anne Dale (Northumberland County Council).


New members of the AONB Partnership at the 2011 Annual Forum
Discussing the Conservation and enhancement of the North Pennines at the Annual Forum
The AONB Partnership's 2007 Annual Forum