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AONB > Introduction & Designations
The Mournes were first designated as an AONB in 1966. In 1986, however, the AONB designation was extended to include the Mourne Mountains, Slieve Croob, their farmed foothills and coast. This designation brings a commitment to safeguard the National beauty, wildlife and historic heritage whilst at the same time promoting its enjoyment to the public.
At the heart of the AONB is the range of mountains, which gives the area its name and image.
These mountains are unique because their peaks are grouped closely together, stretching 24 kilometres from Newcastle to Rostrevor, sweeping down to the sea, at both places.
Not only one of Irelandís most beautiful mountains ranges, the Mourne are also probably the best known, thanks to Percy French and his famous song.
However, the AONB extends much beyond this upland core to embrace a wide range of hill, lowland and coastal landscapes. Although relatively small in area, the Mourne AONB combines the stunning scenery of mountains, coast, farmed drumlin and hill country, with a diverse range of habitats.
A range of activities including farming, forestry, fishing, mineral extraction, water supply, tourism and recreation give the countryside and its settlements their distinctive character, provide local employment and influence the quality of life for its inhabitants.
The mountains, countryside, coast and settlements of Mourne comprise a diverse resource of immense importance in respect of their landscape, wildlife, built and culture heritage. It is vital that Mourne is conserved and managed to safeguard these values, traditional industries and national resource.