A Nationally Important Landscape

View from Wyn Green escarpment The Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty under the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act to conserve and enhance. It is clear from the Act, subsequent government sponsored reports, and the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 that natural beauty includes wildlife, scientific, and cultural heritage

The landscape of the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding Beauty can only be fully conserved and enhanced through recognition and management of the attributes of the historic environment within its borders. Following the definition provided in Planning Position Statement 5 the term 'Historic Environment' is taken to mean 'all aspects of the environment resulting from the interaction between people and places through time including all surviving physical remains of past human activity, whether visible, buried or submerged, and landscaped and planted or managed flora'. The elements of the historic environment which hold significance are referred to as 'heritage assets'.

These heritage assets include nationally designated or registered sites including Scheduled Monuments, Listed Buildings and Historic Parks and Gardens, as well as locally designated and listed settlements and buildings and archaeological sites identified on the county Historic Environment Records. Heritage assets also include landscape scale historic characteristics as well as commonplace and locally distinctive features.

This discussion forms part of the wider AONB Historic Environment Action Plans.