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Landscape marks 50th year as area of beauty

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 29, 2013

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A unique Westcountry landscape is this year celebrating a half-century as one of Britain's crowning jewels.

Events begin this month to mark the 50th birthday of the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The zone – one of nine officially designated AONBs in the region to receive official protection, the latest being the Tamar Valley in 1994 – was created in 1963, just seven years after the Gower peninsula in Wales became the first. Its varied geography takes in rolling farmland, ancient heath-land pebble beds and the stunning Jurassic coastline.

Visitors are invited to capture the visual splendour through a photography competition beginning this month, while the more literary minded are being urged to express their feelings on paper with a writing contest.

Walkers are being challenged to walk the 40-mile route of the East Devon Way, from Exmouth to Lyme Regis, in return for a unique 50th anniversary certificate.

John Wilding, head of forestry and environment for Clinton Devon Estates, and East Devon AONB partnership chairman, said the area was an "inspirational place to live and work".

"We hope as many people as possible will help us celebrate this amazing landscape," he added.

The festivities begin in earnest in April with a heritage week, and throughout the summer the AONB team will be attending a series of festivals to promote their work.

Local businesses are being encouraged to pledge their support by displaying the AONB 50th logo wherever they can.

The anniversary celebration takes place on September 20 at Bicton College, where Professor Michael Dower, former chief executive of the Countryside Commission, will be a special guest.

For information call 01404 46663 or visit www.eastdevonaonb.org.uk

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