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To anyone who visits Cornwall, they can understand why several places are officially Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). An AONB is given to areas of countryside that have been designated for conservation due to its significant landscape value. There are a total of 12 within the borders of Cornwall and we are taking a look at four located on the Cornish coast below:

Rame Head AONB in Cornwall

South Coast - Western AONB

The South Coast Western AONB stretches from Lizard to Marazion, encompassing the Helford River. The coastline the section covers is one of the most spectacular in Cornwall. There are surfing beaches like Praa Sands and Porthleven and sandy coves such as Mullion Cove and Kynance Cove on the west coast of the Peninsular, and on the east, rocky cliffs and headlands, dotted with small beaches like Kennack Sands.

The South Coast Western AONB also includes the landmark St Michael's Mount, Loe Pool and the Penrose Estate. The Lizard Peninsula's coastline, which the South West Coast Path follows, includes the Serpentine cliffs, that lead into remote countryside covered with heathland and grassland. Among the remote countryside, you might find historic sites such as Bronze Age barrows, earthworks and signs of ancient settlements.

Pentire Point to Widemouth AONB

The AONB from Pentire Point to Widemouth covers an unspoilt rocky coast, including the highest cliffs in Cornwall. The steep, wooded valleys reach the coast at Boscastle and Millook Haven, and the picturesque remains of Tintagel Castle are also found on the coast. The High Cliff at Trevigue is the highest in Cornwall at 223m and looks over the beach Crackington Haven. Other neighbouring beaches include Trebarwith Stand and the remote Tregardock.

Points of interest along the coastline between Pentire Point to Widemouth include Rocky Valley, located west of Boscastle. The valley goes from a sheltered woodland to a deep rocky gorge within a few hundred metres, which then suddenly opens out onto the sea, offering you breathtaking views. Other places to check out include The Rump headland with views up the coast to Tintagel Island and Pentire Point that overlooks the Camel estuary.

Rame Head AONB

Rame Head AONB is a rocky shoreline interspersed with sandy beaches. The rounded landmark of Rame Head is home to a medieval chapel and the sheltered valley behind forms the intimate setting for Cawsand and Kingsand. The Rame Head AONB is the smallest in Cornwall, and Mount Edgecumbe Country Park in its northeast corner is a popular destination for visitors.

Rame Head is named Cornwall's 'Forgotten Corner', but its one of the most beautiful areas, with picturesque villages, the headlands and quiet beaches. There is also a ferry across to the town of Plymouth, where there is music, art and restaurants.

Camel Estuary AONB

The Camel Estuary is a broad tidal river valley, which stretches inland to Wadebridge. A tranquil landscape, many small woods and creeks flank the estuary, and there are incredible views down the river to the sea. The Camel Cycle Trail that links Bodmin and Padstow is a great way to see the estuary, and the wildlife that can be found there. The estuary sees many birds pass through all year, and several bird hides are set up along the river.

Highlights of Camel Estuary AONB include Prideaux Place, an Elizabethan home set in lovely grounds and deer park overlooking the estuary. Padstow, though not in the AONB, is a great place to visit in the area, due to an interesting maritime history and popular restaurants.

These are just four of Cornwall's Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty located close or a short drive away from one of the best hotels in Fowey; check out our guide to Tamar Valley, South Coast Eastern and Central and Bodmin Moor here and the AONB on the north coast here.

Image credit: Philip Halling

Tagged under: Cornwall   walking   Nature   Tourism