Celebrating 50 years as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The North Wessex Downs became a protected landscape in 1972 – protected by law for the nation.  But for hundreds of years its natural beauty has inspired poets and painters, writers and wanderers.  We hope to inspire you with our selection of fifty things that are not-to-be-missed: places, experiences and wildlife which we think deserve a special mention.

Thank you to everybody who contributed to the selection process – particularly to members of the Council of Partners for their input.  Not everything made the cut – there is simply too much to choose from!

Please share your journey through the list via our social media channels using #northwessexdowns50 – we’d love to see your images and know what you think about our choice.

What would you have included?

You can also explore the locations included in our list of 50 Things on our Interactive Map.

Explore the very best of the North Wessex Downs:

Barbury Castle

A glorious Iron Age hillfort on the edge of the Marlborough Downs

Read More

Liddington Hill

Rising over 900 feet (275m) and with its clump of beech trees, Liddington Hill is visible for miles around.

Read More

Farmland Birds

The farmed landscape of the AONB provides a habitat for lots of rare bird species. 

Read More

The Other Seven White Horses

The Uffington White Horse is the most well-known hill figure in the AONB but is only one of eight in the North Wessex Downs.

Read More

Chalk Grassland Flowers

Chalk-loving wild flowers thrive here in the AONB!

Read More

The Water Vole

Water voles like to live in the river habitats of the North Wessex Downs.

Read More

Beautiful Butterflies

The North Wessex Downs AONB is a great place to look for butterflies.

Read More

Bluebells at West Woods

One of THE best places in the North Wessex Downs to see this incredible wildflower spectacle

Read More

Starry nights

The North Wessex Downs has significant areas of dark skies with 15% as dark as any in the country

Read More