Landscape is a very complicated idea. It is more than scenery, or views or just the land.
The legislation for AONB's has never defined what it means by landscape or natural beauty, but their are two useful definitions of the term ' landscape' which we use to help understand what an AONB is.
The European Landscape Convention defines landscape as:
"... an area, as perceived by people, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors"
Alternatively the International Union for Conservation of Nature Protected Area Management Categories (V) defines an AONB landscape as:
"A protected area where the interaction of people and nature over time has produced an area of distinct character with significant, ecological, biological, cultural and scenic value: and where safeguarding the integrity of this interaction is vital to protecting and sustaining the area and its associated nature conservation and other values."
These definitions include the idea that landscapes evolve through time, and change as a result of natural forces and human exploitation. Human interaction (and in the IUCN approach, traditional types of management) is vital in both definitions and they also recognise that a landscape forms a whole, is holistic, that natural and cultural features are combined.
Read more Defining natural beauty
Read more AONB legislation