The High Weald AONB Partnership has launched guidance for communities wishing to install AONB signs. Following the example of a number of other Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, including the Kent Downs, Surrey Hills and Chilterns, the guidance encourages a consistent approach to raising awareness of the area and its designation to visitors and locals alike.
The document provides guidance on the placement and design of three broad types of sign:
1. High Weald AONB boundary signs - to be placed near the boundary of the AONB and designed to highlight that you are entering a protected landscape.
2 .High Weald AONB village signs - to be placed at entrances to a village and designed to highlight that you are entering a settlement located within the High Weald AONB.
3.High Weald gateway signs - to be placed at the entrances to villages (or towns) on the immediate edge of the AONB boundary and designed to highlight that you are entering the AONB even though you are not already within its bounds. These signs should be used sparingly and only in appropriate locations.
Production of the guidance was prompted by a number of enquiries from the public, as well as a desire to raise public awareness of the High Weald’s designation as a nationally important landscape. Indeed, according to experience in other AONBs, signs also deliver a number of additional benefits beyond profile-raising, including:
- Promoting pride in the local area
- Creating a sense of regional identity
- Helping improve people’s understanding of the landscape and its character
- Stimulating a desire to care for and conserve the landscape and its special features
- Raising awareness of the quality of the landscape as being on a par with National Parks.
Although the AONB Partnership currently has no funding to contribute to the installation of signs, we would welcome interest from local communities with available funding, and would be happy to contribute staff time to enabling project success.
Ultimately, the guidance should help avoid a piecemeal approach and ensure that appropriate and consistent AONB sign designs are installed across the length and breadth of the High Weald.