The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) covers the most prominent and well known section of the outcrop of oolitic limestone that runs north and northeastwards from Lyme Bay in Dorset to the North Yorkshire Coast. Its most dramatic aspect is along the prominent scarp that faces north-west over the Vales of Berkeley, Gloucester and Evesham, its south-eastern part dipping gently into the rolling wolds and river valleys of the Upper Thames and the Avon. Though devoid of any settlement larger than market towns, the deeply incised nature of the scarp provides the dramatic setting for 'fringe' towns such as Bath and Stroud. Other towns are in close proximity and good roads mean that the area is easily accessible to the populations of Bristol, London and the West Midlands. Although most often associated with the county of Gloucestershire, the AONB actually falls within the administrative boundaries of a further four counties, two unitary authorities and ten district-level authorities. Numerous parish councils and a variety of other organisations also have a stake in the area.