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Coast's 40 years of special status


A celebration is in order in 2008 - it is 40 years since the Norfolk Coast was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Back in 1968, the National Parks Commission was steadily working its way around the country deciding which places to protect. It decided to give the 'official beauty rating' as the EDP of the time called it, to the coast as 'an area whose contribution to the wider enjoyment of the countryside is so important that special measures should be taken to preserve its natural beauty.'

In the same article, the clerk to Erpingham Rural Council, a Mr Albert Marson, is quoted as saying: 'According to the Commission, this designation confers upon the area a national significance and the prestige effect will be to strengthen the hands of the local authority in resisting pressure for unsuitable development.'

Today, the Norfolk Coast Partnership joins people and organisations to care for this special place. From local parishes to central government, from interest groups to national charities, the partnership brings together all the organisations that care for the coast.

The wide range of partners allows the partnership to understand the issues involved in looking after this rare and precious place, and work with each other to guarantee that its valued qualities are protected.

This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) has many facets. From unique wild habitats like saltmarsh, host to internationally rare species, to rural farmed landscapes and villages, home to communities of people. It is also a much loved and visited holiday destination with a dynamic coastline which changes year by year.

The challenge for the partnership is to balance these facets, working together to ensure a healthy future for the environment and communities of the area. Sustainability is at the heart of its approach - not to stop the clock, but keep the coast healthy and functioning naturally into the future.

The partnership works through a management plan and yearly action plans, and with the community and fellow protected areas across the UK and beyond. It also administers the Sustainable Development Fund for the area, which has made scores of projects from green building to low carbon fuel options possible.

You can find out more about the area by:

  • Becoming a Friend of the Norfolk Coast - a new volunteer group
  • Reading the Norfolk Coast Guardian - free newspaper published yearly in early April, and Norfolk Coast 100 ways to be part of it - free community newsletter published yearly in autumn
  • Checking out our website

The Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Numbers

1968Norfolk Coast becomes an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
453square kilometres of Norfolk Coast protected
90.8kilometres of coastline protected
287kilometres of public rights of way
192metres above sea level - highest point (Roman Camp)
68parishes wholly or partly in area
40,393total population
28Sites of Special Scientific Interest
59Scheduled monuments
284.6hectares of ancient woodland

Contact details

Norfolk Coast Partnership
The Old Courthouse
Baron's Close
NR21 8BE

Tel: 01328 850530
Fax: 01328 850546


Wells next the Sea
Blakeney Point