The Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

About 70% of Chiltern area is within the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). This is an area of distinctive landscape with special qualities which is of national importance. The AONB is based on the chalk escarpment to the north-west of Greater London with the steep "scarp" face overlooking the Vale of Aylesbury to the north-west and the more gently sloping "dip-slope" progressively decreasing in height south-eastwards towards Greater London.

The area is wholly on the "dip-slope", whose characteristic landscape consists of steep-sided mostly dry valleys separated by ridges and plateau areas. Crossing the area from north-west to south-east, are three major valley systems, each comprising a main valley, together with its numerous tributary or side valleys. These systems are the Chess Valley, the Misbourne Valley and Penn Bottom/Long Bottom. Notable features of the first two are the rivers after which the valleys are named. 

In addition to the notable landform described above there are many elements which give the Chilterns landscape its distinctive and varied character. These include broadleaved woodland of beech and other species, chalk grassland, hidden valley systems, chalk streams, ancient and sunken lanes, vernacular buildings in brick, flint and dark timber, historic parks and gardens such as Shardeloes, and other items of cultural heritage and wildlife.

A high degree of protection is given to the AONB by planning policy at all levels national, regional, county and local. The purpose is to conserve and enhance natural beauty which includes wildlife as well as landscape features. This is reflected in Local Plan policy LSQ1.

The Council is a member of the Chilterns Conservation Board which has an active role in co-ordinating and initiating policies and actions across the AONB. This partnership comprises all the local authorities lying within the AONB together with the Countryside Agency, other relevant Government agencies and amenity organisations. All are committed to conserving the special character of the Chiltern Hills.


For information on publications by the AONB Conservation Board and for other general enquiries regarding the AONB - see the following link: