PROPOSALS have been put in place for the Sandstone Ridge to be considered as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The ridge runs down the 'spine' of Cheshire, from Malpas in the south to Frodsham in the north and is a popular spot for walkers.

Andrew Hull, chairman of the Sandstone Ridge Trust, expressed his delight at the announcement.

He said: "This is a watershed moment in seeking to 'conserve, connect and inspire' current and future generations in understanding and caring for this unique landscape and its diverse habitats.

"Reaching this stage of the rigorous designation process was testimony to the hard work of many, and I am keen to thank all stakeholders for their commitment, motivation and overwhelming support in contributing to this long-term strategic ambition.

"I would like to emphasise that there will be much work ahead as the Sandstone Ridge Trust continues the journey to ultimate AONB designation."

Meanwhile Edward Timpson, MP for Eddisbury, through which the Sandstone Ridge runs, also praised the announcement.

Eddisbury MP, Edward Timpson CBE, said:

"Running down the spine of Cheshire, the Sandstone Ridge has long been a treasured natural asset, with over a million visitors a year," he said.

"As a regular Sandstone Trail walker myself, it's exciting that more than 60 years after it was first recommended as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty the Ridge is being formally considered for such status.

"This has potential to not only protect and enhance its special environment, but also bring important investment along and around its route.

"I am proud to have been able to support the proposal to this stage, and will continue to do so."