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Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Designated 22nd November 2011

The natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of Ruabon and Esclusham Mountain, the Dee Valley and Chirk Castle have been formally recognized by their inclusion within the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The designation was confirmed by the Welsh Government on 22nd November 2011 and forms an extension to the existing Clwydian Range AONB which was designated in 1985.

The designation recognises that the County of Wrexham has some of the finest landscapes in the United Kingdom and sets in place statutory planning controls and a management plan to seek the conservation and enhancement of the area’s Natural Beauty.

Development Control

In practice, the planning policies of Wrexham’s Unitary Development Plan have since 1996 placed a strong emphasis on the landscape conservation and enhancement of the area, the control of development which would affect landscape character and views and the requirement for a high standard of design and planting to ensure landscape integration.

The AONB designation does not change this approach to development control. Any major development proposals would however be rigorously examined to gauge potential impacts on natural beauty and proposals from statutory utilities such as power lines and telecommunication masts will now require planning permission.

Some Permitted Development Rights are removed within AONBs, but the Agricultural Notification process remains unchanged.


For the County of Wrexham, a key change will be the AONB Management Plan. This will be developed through the Joint Advisory Council made up of representatives from the local community and interest groups. This will not place controls over the use of land, but rather identify the special qualities of the area and seek to address pressures upon natural beauty and enhance the fabric of the landscape such as hedgerows, walls, trees and wildlife features.

The delivery of these enhancements is undertaken by interested community groups and land owners, with guidance and support from the AONB Unit, Local Authority partners and the Countryside Council for Wales.