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Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) are recognised as being landscapes of national importance. These areas are designated for their special character, and planning policy protects their distinctive environmental and heritage features. The purpose of the designation is to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of these landscapes. The Council has a legal duty to have regard to the purposes of the designation.


There are 41 AONBs in England and Wales. The Kent Downs AONB is the eighth largest AONB in England and Wales and covers nearly a quarter of Kent. It extends into Medway to the south of the urban area, forming a valued part of the local landscape and views. It includes areas such as Ranscombe Farm reserve


The Kent Downs AONB management unit promotes activities to conserve and enhance this special landscape. It produced an updated management plan for 2014-19 that sets out the aims, policies and actions for the designated area. Medway Council has adopted the Kent Downs AONB Management Plan as policy. This sets out the vision of the future of this special landscape, seeks to address key issues and threats and sets out aims, objectives and policies for the positive management of the Kent Downs for the next 20 years.


You can read the management plan on the Kent Downs AONB website.


The Kent Downs AONB unit ran a successful landscape partnership scheme, the Valley of Visions from 2007 to 2013. This covered the Medway Valley including the downs and river landscapes and local villages. The scheme funded a range of environmental and heritage projects. Details of the scheme, and suggestions for places to visit and walks guides are available on the website.


For other AONBs, please visit Natural England: AONB.


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