The Yorkshire Wolds Designation Project

Welcome to the Yorkshire Wolds Designation Project website, which is here to provide information about the project, the designation process and the various issues, factors and views that will be taken into account during the process.

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) were recently rebranded as National Landscapes, however when designating Natural England still legally designates an AONB. To avoid confusion, this website and all documentation and consultation material refers to AONB throughout. If an AONB is subsequently designated then it would be branded as a National Landscape.

The Yorkshire Wolds

Identified as a distinct area of landscape in Natural England's National Character Areas dataset, the Yorkshire Wolds is described as follows.

The Yorkshire Wolds National Character Area (NCA) forms an arc of high, gently rolling ground extending from the Humber Estuary west of Hull, to the North Sea coast at Flamborough Head, north of Bridlington. It comprises a prominent chalk escarpment and foothills rising from the Vale of York to the west and the Vale of Pickering to the north, and falling to the plain of Holderness to the east. A very low proportion of the area is urban and woodland, and the vast majority of the land is agricultural. Woodland planting is restricted to small, scattered woodland blocks on higher land and steeper slopes.

Photograph of a view over Thixendale, © Paul Moon Photography
Photograph of a view over Thixendale
Map showing the Yorkshire Wolds and surrounding National Character Areas. Also available as a JPG download.
Map showing the Yorkshire Wolds and surrounding National Character Areas

Why is the Yorkshire Wolds being considered for Designation

Natural England is the Government’s adviser on the natural environment and has powers under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 to consider which areas of countryside are nationally important for their outstanding natural beauty  and then to designate such areas as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, if it is desirable to do so for the purpose of conserving and enhancing their natural beauty.  

In June 2021, a written ministerial statement by Secretary of State, George Eustice (Defra) announced that Natural England ‘will be taking forward the government’s commitment to designate additional protected landscapes and is currently considering the designation of four new areas’.  This includes the possible designation of a new Yorkshire Wolds AONB.

Full details of Natural England’s subsequent announcement can be seen via the link below: