Knowledge Hub

Heritage Coast Review 2022

Heritage Coasts are a landscape definition applied to the finest stretches of our most scenic and undeveloped coast. There are 32 in England covering around a fifth of the coastline. Their objectives are to conserve, protect and enhance the natural beauty of the coasts; facilitate and enhance their enjoyment, understanding and appreciation by the public; and maintain and improve (where necessary) the environmental health of inshore waters affecting heritage coasts. Together with AONBs and National Parks they are part of our national family of most valued and protected landscapes.

The review was the first ‘stocktake’ of English Heritage Coasts since 2005.  Evidence on the delivery of Heritage Coast objectives, the value of these definitions, the influence of changes in policy and their future opportunities was collated via online questionnaires, a series of workshops and some targeted one to one conversations. New analysis of data provides some fascinating and helpful information about the collective of Heritage Coasts, the areas they cover and the communities that they relate to.

The study showed that Heritage Coasts have retained their high national landscape quality, their objectives remain extremely relevant, and they are highly valued as a brand and as places to live, work and visit. They remain unique in that they straddle land and sea. 

The consultants have made some recommendations to help boost the potential of Heritage Coasts. These are being considered by Natural England and partners – they are not agreed actions.