Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Beauty

Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is situated on the eastern flanks of the Yorkshire Dales, from the high moorland of Great Whernside at the top of Nidderdale south and east towards the Vale of York. Its 603km2 cover just under half of Harrogate district.

AONBs are nationally protected by Government legislation in recognition of their national importance to ensure that their character and qualities are maintained for all to enjoy. Nidderdale is one of 42 AONBs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland that enjoy the same level of protection as the UK's 15 National Parks.

The purposes of AONB designation are to:

  • conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the landscape
  • meet the need for quiet enjoyment of the countryside
  • have regard for the interests of those who live and work there

Nidderdale AONB's landscape is diverse, full of contrasts and rich in wildlife. The scenery to the west is dominated by heather-clad moors whereas in the east, as the landscape broadens and flattens, the landscape is a softer and more settled with historic parks and gardens including the Fountains Abbey World Heritage Site.

Nidderdale AONB policy is overseen by a Joint Advisory Committee comprising representatives of local authorities, farming, conservation and community bodies. The Committee acts as an adviser to organisations whose work has an impact on the AONB so they can ensure what they do complements the objectives of AONB designation. The Joint Advisory Committee also oversees the work of an AONB staff team funded by Defra alongside financial and administrative support from Harrogate Borough Council.

Much more information about the AONB, including information about how to get in touch, is available from the website