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The Surrey Hills to take part in a National Moment

Hearts are being formed across the country in our most loved landscapes this Saturday 21st & Sunday 22 September.

For the first time ever people in all the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) are forming hearts to show how much they love their landscapes. The heart shape has been chosen as it represents not only the love for these areas but also that AONBs and National Parks were originally thought of as the ‘Natural Health Service’. The legislation that allowed the creation of these protected landscapes, the National Parks & Access to the Countryside Act was agreed in 1949, the same year as the National Health Service. The two acts were seen as complimentary; preventing illness through recreation and then curing them if did get ill.

From the Surrey Hills to Cornwall over to Kent and up to the North Pennines staff, volunteers, residents and visitors will be forming hearts, either using their own bodies at mass gatherings or using objects in the landscape. All the hearts are being captured on film and video and poet Laureate Simon Armitage has been commissioned to write a poem about AONBs which he will read and be featured on the film. There are 46 AONBs across the UK and each will be participating. This national moment kicks off the Landscapes for Life week to celebrate our protected landscapes.

Simon Armitage says: “I was delighted to be asked to work with the National Association for AONBs on this auspicious occasion. They are an institution that safeguards and celebrates all that is good about the world we live in, and an organisation whose values I share and trust in. The relationship between poetry and the land in this country goes back to the very origins of poetic utterance and I’m proud to be making a contribution to that ongoing dialogue. There is no greater challenge for a contemporary laureate and geography graduate than to contribute artistically to a conversation about the natural world and the state of our planet, and to praise those things that are wonderful and of wonder.”

The Surrey Hills will be participating in this National moment by forming a giant heart made up of people at Denbies Wine Estate this Sunday 22 September at 12:00. This will be filmed from a drone and then added to the national film to promote the UKs protected landscapes. The Surrey Hills Challenge event is also taking part at Denbies Wine Estate on Sunday 22 September so will be buzzing with active people and reaffirming the message of healthy hearts and using the Surrey Hills for outdoor activity. Anyone who is interested in taking part is very welcome to come along to see what is happening.

Howard Davies, Chief Executive of the National Association for AONBs said, ‘This national moment kicks off Landscapes for Life Week, so-called because we’re committed to our iconic national landscapes forever. And those landscapes are so much more than a view –they are landscapes for living. They are a place for nature –which AONB partnerships are actively working to conserve
and enhance. They are a place for rural productivity and at the heart of our great British food industry. They are a place of tranquillity, rootedness and wellbeing, treasured by generations of people seeking peace, exercise and leisure; truly our Natural Health Service.’

Landscapes for Life week takes place 21-29 September 2019. This week (and a bit) long programme of events helps people reconnect with nature by enjoying and being inspired by the UK’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). A whole host of events are happening across the Surrey Hills during this special week, take a look at our events page to see what’s happening near you https://www.surreyhills.org/discover/surrey-hills/events/

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