Community groups, local businesses and residents have joined in national celebrations to showcase the special landscape of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
During this year’s Landscapes for Life Week (21 to 29 September), AONB teams across the UK are marking a milestone – 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.
Across the UK people are making hearts in the landscape, showing their love for their AONBs and reinforcing the theme of these areas as part of a ‘natural health service’, contributing to better health and wellbeing.
In the North Pennines AONB and UNESCO Global Geopark people came together to make a heart in Upper Teesdale, holding tree saplings which they then took away to plant in their own communities.
Director of the North Pennines AONB Partnership, Chris Woodley-Stewart, said: “We’re really pleased to be joining in the national celebrations for Landscapes for Life Week 2019. Thank you to everyone who came to join in our celebration event, and we look forward to seeing the native rowan saplings growing in gardens and the grounds of community venues, schools and businesses across the North Pennines.
“AONBs are vitally important to residents and visitors for the opportunities they offer to get out in nature, and also for the many benefits they provide to society.”
One of the tree saplings has been planted at Frosterley Primary School in Weardale. School governor, Joyce Jackson, said: “At Frosterley Primary School we love the North Pennines landscape that we are part of. Joining in with the celebration of 70 years since the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty were first created by planting a rowan tree is a perfect way to show how much the school cares about the landscape.”
At 2pm on Saturday 21 September there will be a ‘national moment’ of celebration when the different hearts from across the country will be shared on social media. 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.”
With the creation of AONBs and National Parks, the 1949 Act sought to protect these special landscapes for the nation, for the future, whilst ensuring that the remain living, working places.
For further information contact Sarah Hudspeth at North Pennines AONB Partnership – firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 01388 528801.
Drone image are © North Pennines AONB Partnership
Others © Lee Dobson Photography