The South Hams landscape supports our health and wellbeing by encouraging physical outdoor activity. It is an antidote to stress, offering aesthetic enjoyment, escapism, tranquillity, and a sense of belonging to an area with a distinct natural and cultural identity.
But landscape is more than just scenery. It is the interaction between people and place, the bedrock upon which our society is built. The European Landscape Convention defines landscape as ‘an area, as perceived by people, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors.’
And our landscape underpins our economy, offering a superb natural and cultural environment, sustaining agriculture, attracting inward investment, and supporting one of the most vibrant tourism industries in the UK.
At the same time our landscape continues to inspire artists, writers and photographers, whose work is enjoyed by all ages.
Much of the landscape in the South Hams is designated as being in the South Devon Area of Natural Beauty. This affords it some, but arguably insufficient, protection from inappropriate development.
As a Protected Landscape the South Hams is deemed, by law, to have ten special qualities that make it unique and worthy of extra protection. These are a wild and rugged coastline; a network of streams, rivers and estuaries; rolling farmland; open tops and hidden valleys; long unspoiled views; a long lived-in landscape; rich in wildlife; naturally tranquil; with an ancient network of routes and quality views beyond the AONB boundary.
The Society works tirelessly to protect those special qualities.