The Statement of Significance defines what makes the High Weald special and identifies the qualities that justify its designation as a nationally important landscape.
The High Weald's 'natural beauty' is described by five key components of character around which the Management Plan is structured. Individual features that are locally distinctive or nationally important are not necessarily reflected in the Statement of Significance, rather it sets out those qualities that make the area as a whole recognisable and distinctive, and different from surrounding areas.
The 2019-2024 edition introduces a Land-based economy component and related rural life bound up with, and underpinning, the observable character of the landscape with roots extending deep into history. As well as 'Other qualities' and features that are connected to the interaction between the landscape and people and which enrich character components. Such qualities and features enhance health and wellbeing, and foster enjoyment and appreciation of the beauty of nature.
To qualify as an AONB the High Weald landscape as a whole has been judged to be outstandingly beautiful and equivalent in quality to National Parks. All areas of the AONB are of equal value under the designation.
The Statement of Significance can be used as character-based criteria to judge impact (or harm) to the AONB from development or other activity, and as a guide to help tailor positive policies and actions to support conservation of the area.
Read more Using the AONB Management Plan to assess impact.
Analysis of the history of the High Weald landscape and the forces that have shaped it underpin the Statement of Significance.