AONB Vision

The AONB Vision is agreed by the High Weald Joint Advisory Committee, which includes representatives of all 15 local authorities with land in the AONB and Government bodies responsible for protected landscapes in England.

The High Weald AONB Management Plan sets out how we, and others, think this vision can be realised.

Our vision for the future of the High Weald is a landscape which:

  • Retains its distinctive historic character and beauty as a small-scale anciently enclosed working landscape, with a mosaic of landscape features and habitats including woodland, shaws, native hedgerows, gill streams, traditional meadows, lowland heath and built heritage, and has halted the incremental erosion of natural beauty.
  • Has restored its rich biodiversity and abundance of characteristic species, and reinstated healthy water, air and soil systems improving habitat connectivity, condition and ecological resilience.
  • Is maintained as a thriving working landscape with mixed farming and livestock producing nutrient dense food through sustainable land management practices, such as regenerative agriculture supplemented by leaving land to nature and agro-forestry, with activities and appropriate infrastructure supported and nurtured where they deliver public benefits.
  • Celebrates its woodland history and has revitalised its woodland economy producing highly valued timber products sustained by sensitive small-scale woodland management.
  • Sustains a diverse range of people and more young people working in farming, forestry and rural land management, supported by appropriate workspace, skills training and businesses investment.
  • Retains its innate sense of rurality, tranquillity and perception of remoteness, allowing people to experience the sounds of nature and changing seasons.
  • Has protected its historic landscape features and heritage assets, allowing people to experience the sense of history everywhere and the visibility of the medieval landscape.
  • Has maintained and enhanced the quality of its dark skies and the ability to see the stars.
  • Exhibits appropriate high quality and landscape-led new housing, including affordable housing, and workspace to support thriving rural communities, and which does not compromise the High Weald’s character, aided by a consistent approach to planning across the National Landscape.
  • Facilitates active participation by people, their communities and businesses, in conserving the area and managing change.
  • Has adopted a net-zero future, relying on nature-based solutions to aid climate cooling and adapt to flooding and extreme weather events, with landscape-led green and renewable technologies, and non-fossil fuel transport underpinning a strong rural economy and thriving communities.
  • Provides a warm welcome and high-quality experience for residents and visitors, and is a more accessible landscape, with modal shifts in transport and more opportunities for walking and cycling, allowing people to engage with nature and enjoy the ‘natural health service’ benefits offered by the landscape.
  • Provides inspiration and enjoyment for people, businesses and communities and is valued and understood by them and championed by the High Weald Partnership.