Cornwall Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
...protecting nearly a third of Cornwall
Cornwall’s designated Areas of Natural Beauty cover a total of 958 sq km and consists of 12 separate geographical areas, including 10 stretches of Cornish coastline, plus the inland Camel Estuary and Bodmin Moor.
The areas cover almost a third of the county (27%), an area of 370 sq miles. These areas – collectively known in AONB terms as simply Cornwall – are grouped as one of 47 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the UK which, alongside the National Parks, represents the most outstanding examples of protected rural landscape.
The chances are anyone spending their holidays in Cornwall will find themselves in one of these protected beauty spots.
Cornwall’s AONB is largely splintered, dotted around almost the entire coastline and – as is Cornwall’s wont – contains some of Britain's finest coastal scenery, including Land's End and the Lizard peninsula.
At the tip of the county is the Hartland Heritage Coast, which includes the northernmost parish in Cornwall, Morwenstow. This 60 mile long coast of breathtaking, rugged cliffs is continually pounded by crashing Atlantic waves, making the area a favourite with surfers. The coastline begins on the golden beaches just north of Bude, where swathes of lazy sunbathers enjoy Britain’s mildest climate.
Further down the north coast is Pentire Point to Widemouth, home to the dramatic cliffs north of Boscastle, and the inland Camel Estuary.
Also inland is Bodmin Moor; miles of wild, open granite moorland with much in common with Dartmoor, while Trevose Head to Stepper Point features headlands which tower above the level of the fields on the plateau inland.
On the western coast is the historic moorland of the West Penwith Peninsula, while the famous Lizard peninsula can be found on the south coast (South Coast Western) alongside South Coasts central and eastern.
Rame Head is the smallest area of the Cornwall AONB.
The AONB has predictably few large settlements, but does include villages such as St Keverne, Mevagissey and Polperro, now popular holiday destinations. Tourism remains a crucial part of the rural economy and the AONB is used extensively by visitors to the Cornish resorts.
Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015