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Special Characteristics

The Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a special place.

We are relatively small in comparison to some of the 46 designated AONBs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but we are distinctive because of our habitats, heritage and landscape which are of international significance.

We could write endless lists of the area’s special qualities – this place is a beautiful mosaic of habitats and history, architecture and heritage, and proper communities. This is the only Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which is fully within Cumbria. We care for 115 sq km or land which has scheduled monuments, listed buildings, designated conservation areas, and  part of the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site.

Here are some of the characteristics which have been identified because they make the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty really stand out:

  • Large flat expanses of coastal terrain
  • The dramatic sky, one of our dominant features
  • A dynamic and large intertidal estuary
  • Vast unbroken vistas across the Scotland
  • Extensive areas of traditionally-grazed saltmarsh
  • Large, though fragmented, areas of lowland raised mire bogs
  • A long narrow tract of coastal dunes
  • Large areas of exposed sand and mud
  • A culture of dairy, beef and sheep farming
  • Small hedge-bound fields, using a traditional ‘kested’ method of banking
  • Scarce woodland cover
  • Rich archaeological and historical heritage
  • High levels of biodiversity thanks to intertidal, coastal and inland habitats
  • An internationally-important area for birdlife in our estuary habitats and lowland raised bogs.

If you’d like to read more about how we care for this important landscape, see our ‘managing for the future’ page, and read our detailed management plan.