Charting North Devon and Exmoor’s unique seascape

Watermouth Copyright North Devon AONBFor the first time, the iconic coastline and surrounding seas of North Devon and Exmoor have been studied in meticulous detail. Published this month, a new report North Devon and Exmoor Seascape Character Assessment  not only celebrates the many, valued natural, cultural and perceptual aspects of both land and sea but will also become a vital tool in future conservation and planning activities.

With more than 90 miles of this coastline designated as a National Park or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) this has to be one of the most treasured stretches of land and sea in England. It also boasts four Heritage Coasts, including Lundy.

Key partners in the region have worked closely together to ensure this report defines the special qualities of the coast and seas – the National Trust, North Devon Coast Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), Exmoor National Park Authority, North Devon Council, Torridge District Council and Natural England. The report was prepared by LUC, a highly respected environmental consultancy, and is the first of its kind to be completed in Devon and Cornwall.

This Seascape Character Assessment will help provide the evidence to support a number of important planning, management and policy activities by these project partners and others over the coming years. It will also assist developers and planners in making informed decisions about offshore developments, including renewables. In the next five years it will also play its part in a new Marine Management Plan for the South West.

Dave Edgcombe of North Devon Coast AONB said: “As this new report so accurately reveals, this stretch of coastline is rich in both nature and culture. To the people who flock to its long sandy beaches or walk the South West Coast Path that runs its entire length, its value lies as much in the sense of wildness and sheer beauty as in its rugged headlands, high cliffs and rare wildlife. This coast and its surrounding seas are also rich in heritage and archaeological sites, with evidence of submerged ancient forest, prehistoric and Roman features and the many shipwrecks of the past.”

North Devon Council’s Executive Member for Environment, Councillor Rodney Cann, said: “Our coastline is so important to us in so many ways. It is essential that we have a thorough understanding of its character and unique features, so that we can ensure it is properly managed, protected and preserved.”

For more information, please visit Devon Exmoor Seascapes.

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