North Devon Coast

National Landscape

01392 388628

Sustainable Rural & Visitor Economy

Objective: to promote sustainable development within the AONB that is consistent with the designation

The remoteness and rurality of North Devon provides both challenges and opportunities to local businesses and public agencies to develop a sustainable economy. Low wages and low skilled work attract national and regional programmes to strengthen and grow the economy. These need to accommodate the constraints of the protected landscapes but can also build on their opportunities such as local foods, wood fuel, sustainable construction, heritage businesses, energy efficiency and sustainable tourism. Broadband connectivity is essential in the rural areas and is gradually being improved, to address the remoteness and transport constraints.

Tourism is a vital part of the local economy with over two million visitors a year drawn here by the stunning beaches, dramatic coastlines, the South West Coast Path and the tranquillity of the Hartland Peninsula. Growth in recreational activity through tourism can impact upon historic assets, particularly Scheduled Ancient Monuments and undesignated field monuments. Care needs to be taken to prevent erosion by off-road activities, horse riding, coasteering or visitor footfall. Tourism is an opportunity to share this protected landscape with the wider community through fun, physical and educational activities. The AONB Partnership members develop and support a wide range of economic projects to support businesses and communities within the AONB. The AONB’s small grants scheme plays a key role in helping communities to add value to their local assets to engage and inform visitors.