This is a very diverse, fragmented AONB containing some of Britain's finest coastal scenery, including Land's End and the Lizard peninsula.
The north coast landscapes range from famous headlands, such as Tintagel and St Agnes Head, to extensive rolling dunes and the spectacularly folded cliffs north of Boscastle. The south coast has an altogether softer landscape of multi-coloured cliffs, tiny coves and picturesque fishing villages. It is indented by the oak-fringed estuaries of the Fal, Fowey and Helford Rivers.
To the west, the Lizard and Land's End areas have distinctive geological formations. The Lizard's famous serpentine rock is found in the many reefs and spectacular stacks that emphasise the wild isolated character of the coastline. The granite intrusions around Land's End have created rocks rich in minerals that have been mined for centuries.
The AONB also contains the broad expanse of the Camel Estuary (25 sq km) and inland, the high open sweep of Bodmin Moor (208 sq km), the heath plateau of the Lizard Peninsula and the historic moorland of the Penwith Peninsula.
Bodmin Moor is the only extensive upland area in Cornwall and is dominated by granite outcrops with characteristic granite tors and clitter slopes, a wealth of mineral deposits and unusual river profiles.
The AONB protects many important natural and historic sites. The Lizard, with its complex geology, is a National Nature Reserve, and the Fal River is one of Europe's best unspoilt examples of a drowned estuary complex. The traditional farmed landscape of small hedged and banked fields is intrinsically part of the AONB's value as are its ancient standing stones and the distinctive ruins of Cornwall's tin mines. 86 per cent of the AONB is in agricultural use for meat and milk production and, in favoured pockets, horticulture.
The AONB has few large settlements but includes villages such as St Keverne, Mevagissey and Polperro, now bustling holiday centres, and small towns like St Just. Tourism is a vital part of the rural economy and the AONB is intensively used by visitors to the Cornish resorts. The South West Coast Path, a National Trail, follows the coastline.
Cornwall AONB Unit, Block E1, Carrick House,
Pydar Street, Truro, Cornwall, TR1 1EB
Tel: (01872) 322350