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AONBA group from neighbouring parishes along the Great Ouse came together in 2013 and enthusiastically discussed the need to protect and enhance this valuable area of the Great Ouse Valley.

The area is currently not regarded as a coherent whole. There is a limited appreciation of the intricate relationship between the landscape and the built environment and how it has evolved through its long history. The landscape is often assumed ‘to take care of itself’ – but in the increasingly crowded 21st century it faces unprecedented pressures which endanger its survival.

The benefits of understanding and managing the Great Ouse Valley holistically rather than piecemeal are considerable. A holistic approach will ensure enhanced bio-diversity. It will recognise and target vulnerable areas that require protection. Most importantly, it will bring together the many stakeholders to develop a shared, sympathetic use of the area by landowners, residents and visitors.

AONBs are nationally recognised designations. Since 1956 they are an established way of managing the very best parts of our natural heritage. There are many criteria required for designation, but foremost is natural beauty.

It is believed that the Great Ouse Valley fulfils the AONB criteria, and so an application was submitted to Natural England in October 2013.The application is still awaiting determination by Natural England.