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North Pennines A.O.N.B. European Geopark

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
In June 2003, the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), one of the most beautiful, remote and unspoilt places in England, became Great Britain's first European Geopark. The rocks and landscapes of the North Pennines have amazing stories to tell, of moving continents and tropical seas, of molten rock and ice sheets and of minerals and the men that mined them.
Britain's first "European Geopark"
This is a high, wild landscape of open moorland, tumbling rivers and green dales, stretching across 2000 square kilometres of County Durham, (Cumbria) and Northumberland. It is the second largest of the 41 AONBs in England and Wales, landscapes recognised by Government as the equal of the National Parks. It is noted for its diversity of wildlife and for its nationally recognised scenic qualities, but it also has a world - class geological heritage. This geological interest, coupled with past and planned effort for its conservation, led to the Geopark designation being conferred on the area.
In the year since designation, the North Pennines AONB Partnership Staff Unit, which manages the Geopark designation locally, has been working closely with the British Geological Survey to produce the first Geodiversity Action Plan (GAP) for a UK protected landscape. As well as being the first comprehensive audit of the geology of the North Pennines AONB, it sets out a framework for action for the conservation and interpretation of many of the area's key sites and features of geological interest. The plan identifies a series of "North Pennines Geodiversity Sites", which will be monitored by the AONB Partnership and conservation action taken where required.
The AONB Partnership Staff Unit has also been working with local organisations from across the North Pen-nines to develop the area's first geology festival and is developing transnational and local projects which will further conserve and interpret the area's rich geological heritage.

North Pennines AONB partnership
Weardale Business Centre
The Old Co-op Building
1 Martin Street
Stanhope DL13 2UY
County Durham
Tel: 01388 528801
E-mail: Chris Woodley-Steward
Elizabeth Pickett