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Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

ANOBs in England and WalesANOBs in England and Wales


Between the seaside resort of Hunstanton and Sheringham to the east is a spectacular coastal landscape of tidal marshes, creeks, shingle spits, and sweeping beaches, most of which is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (ANOB).

An ANOB is an area of countryside in England, Wales or Northern Ireland which has been designated for conservation due to its significant landscape value and national importance.  They enjoy levels of protection from development similar to those of UK national parks.  However, unlike with national parks, the responsible bodies do not have their own planning powers and differ in their more limited opportunities for extensive outdoor recreation.



A few days out in North Norfolk
February 2018

Across the marsh towards Blakeney, and passing hen harrier.  Oil on canvas 90cm x 60cmAcross the marsh towards Blakeney, and passing hen harrier. Oil on canvas 90cm x 60cm

The weather was settled and the forecast looking good, so I set off for a few days working at a number of my favourite places along the coast.

Barn owls and streams of pink footed and brent geese at Stiffkey; a wonderful male hen harrier and flocks of curlews on Warham Greens; and peregrines and shore larks on the tip of Scolt Head Island.

Also had time for a trip out with Branta Cruises and Jon Brown on board the Laura May - fantastic!

(Right)  I was at Stiffkey way out where the marsh ends and the beach and falling tide stretches out seemingly to horizon.  At one point a male hen harrier flew fast and low  across the beach when I first saw it then reaching the straggling marsh edge thenbird rose and flutttered a little more as it seemed to follow the invisible contours of the gusting wind sweeping over the marsh weaving in and out of the sueda bushes, over runnels and creeks.  A breathtaking sight!













(Above) Shore larks on Scolt Head Island.  They were hard to find at first, but then I heard them calling.  They  were up high - a straggling, flickering flock that circled and dropped low then rose high again before spiraling down in to the margins of the sueda and bands of debris along the tideline.  I worked my way towards them keeping low and managed to set up my telescope and tools as they worked their way up and down the beach for half an hour or more.



(Above)  I am working in oil in the field quite often these days - this was the result of a few hours out at Gun Hill.  There were flocks of linnets, gulls streaming out of the gap, curlews and redshanks calling, and at one point a peregrine circled and headed off towards Scolt - time enough to quickly add it to the composition. (Oil on canvas 36in x 24ins)