Simon's Blog: Outstanding Week - Celebrating our Outstanding Landscapes
It is perhaps easy to be dismissive of days or weeks promoting this or that cause but I for one hope that everyone enjoys Outstanding Week that starts today. There are many joys of Outstanding Week but first I must declare an interest as the Dedham Vale and Suffolk Coast & Heaths Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) are involved in its organisation.
Outstanding Week is not a fundraiser but it is an opportunity to share and celebrate all that is so wonderful about our nationally designated landscapes. It is about getting out and enjoying and being inspired by those landscapes. It is not just an event for those of us in the east of England but events are taking place throughout the 46 AONBs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, (Scotland has National Scenic Areas). Look up Outstanding Week 2017 on the Landscapes for Life website.
The events will celebrate the AONBs natural beauty and special qualities. The natural beauty part goes without saying, many of us enjoy the quintessential English landscapes of the Dedham Vale made famous by the great landscape artist John Constable. Equally the Suffolk Coast and its Heaths are enjoyed by many. But it is the special qualities of these outstanding landscapes that bring them to life for many.
Those special qualities include their picturesque villages, super walking and riding opportunities, relative tranquillity and wildlife watching. Some say it is the opportunity to eat and drink some of the finest produce in the country. What it does all add up to is an opportunity to improve your health and well-being through mental relaxation and possibly physical exercise.
Many people will have enjoyed summer breaks from the usual rigmarole of their daily lives, indeed many people will have travelled to the AONBs for that reason. But those of us lucky enough to live in or near an AONB (66% of those in England live within 30 minutes of an AONB) can enjoy a final summer hurrah and experience one of our finest landscapes through a special event in Outstanding Week. I urge you to give it a go.
First published in the East Anglian Daily Time September 2017