Hearts will be formed across the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on Saturday 21 September. People are invited to join in and make their own High Weald heart images to show how much they love this special landscape, covering parts of East and West Sussex, Kent and Surrey.
It’s all part of Landscapes for Life week, an annual celebration of our cherished Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) across the UK, taking place from 21 to 29 September 2019. This year is extra special in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act. The Act paved the way for the creation of the UK’s 46 AONBs, protecting these treasured areas for everyone to enjoy.
The theme of the celebration is 'Love your Landscape' and across the country people in AONBs will be marking the occasion by making hearts in the landscape. The week starts with a ‘national moment’ at 2pm on Saturday 21 September when the High Weald and other AONBs will share heart images on social media.
People are being asked to join in and show their love for the High Weald landscape by sharing their photos with the hashtags #HighWeald #LoveL4L and #NaturalHealthService until 29 September. Photos could be a heart shape in the landscape made with hands or people, or using natural objects. Find the High Weald AONB on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
Poet Laureate Simon Armitage will premiere a specially commissioned poem for the national event. Local celebrations include the High Weald Walking Festival held from 14 to 21 September. The Festival offers an opportunity for everyone to enjoy the local landscape and the benefits to health and wellbeing that this can bring.
The High Weald AONB Partnership also held a competition for local schoolchildren to design artwork to celebrate the 70 year anniversary. Messages in the children’s art includes ‘Keep the beauty of nature’, ‘Save animals and plants’ and ‘I love outdoors’. Congratulations to the eight winners at The Meads Primary School, East Grinstead, and Maynards Green Community Primary, Heathfield. Their colourful designs (pictured below) celebrate the High Weald’s beautiful landscape and wildlife, as well as farming and enjoyment of the countryside. The images will decorate our home page slideshow for the rest of the year.
The 1949 vision of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks was considered complementary to the newly formed NHS. Our ‘Natural Health Service’, giving people access to the countryside for exercise, enjoyment and mental health benefits, was seen as preventing illness; while the NHS was designed to help people if they became sick.