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Situated in the north west of England, spanning the county boundary of Cumbria and Lancashire, Arnside & Silverdale AONB was designated in 1972. Covering 75 sq km, this is one of the smallest of the AONB family.
Here you will find stunning limestone pavements, ancient woodlands, intimate meadows, rich wetlands, impressive coastline and magnificent views. Unimproved pasture and the exposed limestone outcrops are rich in rare butterflies and wildflowers such as the High Brown Fritillary and Lady’s-slipper orchid. The AONB, in fact, has examples of more than half the flowering plant species in Britain! Morecambe Bay, with its constantly changing channels, sand and mud flats and salt marsh, is internationally important as a vital feeding ground for wading birds and wildfowl in winter and the reedbeds at RSPB Leighton Moss are home to bearded tit, marsh harrier and the rare bittern.
Arnside & Silverdale AONB is a living, working landscape – a place where people want to live, work and visit.
There are almost 10,000 people living in the AONB, mostly in the vibrant communities of Arnside, Silverdale and Warton.
There are 2 major landowning estates but other large areas are owned and/or managed by conservation organisations such as RSPB, National Trust and the Wildlife Trusts. Two thirds of the AONB is protected by SSSI and County Wildlife designations.
Farming has retained many traditional practices such as drystone walling and hedges laid in the traditional Westmorland style and, along with tourism, is the main economic activity.
With stations at Arnside, Silverdale and Carnforth, the AONB is well served by public transport. Visitors are drawn to the area by the panoramic views and spectacular sunsets but most of all they value its tranquillity. With almost 100km of well-maintained footpaths and narrow lanes and byways, walking and cycling are very popular activities and by far the best way to experience the Area’s sights and sounds to the full.