Landscape Character Assessment

Landscape Character Assessment

Landscape Character Assessment is a tool for identifying the patterns that make each type of landscape distinct to those who live and work in it.

Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) is a tool for identifying the patterns and individual combinations of features – such as hedgerows, field shapes, woodland, land use, patterns of settlements and dwellings – that make each type of landscape distinct and often special to those who live and work in it.

Landscape Character

Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) is a tool for identifying the patterns and individual combinations of features – such as hedgerows, field shapes, woodland, land use, patterns of settlements and dwellings – that make each type of landscape distinct and often special to those who live and work in it.

Maps and data

You can access the full Worcestershire Landscape Character Assessment maps and databases via our interactive landscape map.

View the Landscape Character Assessment interactive map

Defining Landscape Character

Landscape character is defined as the distinct, recognisable and consistent pattern of elements in the landscape. It is these patterns that give each locality its 'sense of place', making one landscape different from another, rather than better or worse. In defining the combinations of components which make each landscape unique, landscape character is a way of thinking about landscape more holistically and objectively, rather than focusing on scenic beauty and subjective responses. Landscapes have evolved over time as a result of both natural and cultural processes.

Natural processes give rise to the physical structure of the landscape – geology, land form and soils.

Cultural processes give rise to varying patterns and types of tree cover, field boundaries and settlement – they are a reflection of man's endeavours to live on and from the land.

Physical elements provide the fundamentally stable basic pattern of landscape, while cultural elements are superimposed on this and are more fluid, reflecting social and land use changes over time. Layered on top of this is the perceptual element – our own personal appreciation of landscape and how we relate to or make use of it, as individuals and communities.

Defining and using Landscape Character Assessment

Landscape Character Assessment – or LCA – is a tool for identifying and studying the features that make up the character of the landscape. LCA is typically undertaken at a county scale. There are two phases to the LCA process:

  • The first classification and description phase is used to sub-divide the landscape into areas of similar character at various scales. These areas – the units of landscape character – can then be described and classified (as explained in more detail in the section below)
     
  • The second analysis and evaluation phase builds on the classification and description phase by using the detailed database it produces to develop a strategic framework for landscape policies and identify priorities for action.

LCA is most commonly used as the basis for giving advice and guidance to local authority planning staff, both for strategic and development control purposes. For more detailed information and advice on the use of LCA in planning, please visit our planning and development Advice page.

LCA it is also of great relevance to the land management and conservation sectors where it can be used to support or guide applications for agri-environment schemes, woodland management projects and other land-based initiatives. For more detailed information and advice on the use of LCA in land management practice, please visit our land management Advice page.

    Landscape units

    Maps and Data

    You can access the full Worcestershire Landscape Character Assessment maps and databases via our interactive landscape map.

    View the Landscape Character Assessment interactive map

    At a national level, the English landscape is divided into National Character Areas (as defined by Natural England). In Worcestershire we have refined these to the slightly smaller Regional Character Areas, to better reflect some of the broad variations discernible in the county's landscape that weren't accounted for in some of the much larger national units.

    At a county level, the Worcestershire landscape is further broken down into Landscape Description Units (LDUs). These are a representation of a Landscape Type in a specific location. LDUs are the building blocks of the LCA and are determined by analysing maps of geology, topography, soils, tree cover character, land use and settlement pattern.

    Nesting within LDUs are the smallest units of landscape character – Land Cover Parcels (LCPs). These describe any local variation that is present and visually apparent within the larger LDUs, such as minor variations in land use and the historic patterns of field enclosure. Within LCPs the landscape is a visual entirety and they are totally homogenous with respect to landscape attributes. LCPs can vary considerably in size from maybe a few fields to larger areas where there is less diversity in landscape character.

    The process of LCA identifies commonalities in landscapes, recognising repeating patterns of natural and cultural attributes that reflect how geographically separate areas have evolved in a similar way. This information allows these areas – LDUs and by default the LCPs that nest within them – to be classified into Landscape Types.

    Unlike the landscape units described above, which are all unique and describe specific areas, Landscape Types are generic and may occur anywhere in the country where the same combinations of physical and cultural landscape attributes occur. For example, the Riverside Meadows Landscape Type occurs along the length of the Severn and Teme in Worcestershire but also the Wye and Lugg in Herefordshire; the High Hills and Slopes Landscape Type is seen in the Malvern Hills and also in the Black Mountains on the Welsh border.

    The way in which these landscape units and types sit together is in a mapped hierarchy:

    1. Regional Character Areas
    2. Landscape Types
    3. Landscape Description Units (LDUs)
    4. Land Cover Parcels (LCPs)

    Landscape types

    Landscape types are a generic classification for landscape character and may occur anywhere in the country where the same combinations of physical and cultural landscape attributes are found. For example, the Riverside Meadows Landscape Type occurs along the length of the Severn and Teme in Worcestershire but also the Wye and Lugg in Herefordshire; the High Hills and Slopes Landscape Type is seen in the Malvern Hills and also in the Black Mountains on the Welsh border. There are 23 Landscape Types in Worcestershire, including the Urban Landscape Type.

    Visit the Landscape Character Assessment mapping portal and a county-wide map of the Worcestershire Landscape Types. You can also interrogate the map to find the Landscape Type profile and landscape and ecological descriptions for each Landscape Description Unit (LDU). Alternatively:

    Download PDF versions of Worcestershire Landscape Type Information Sheets: 

    NB The Urban Landscape Type does not have a Landscape Type description page. The Worcestershire LCA is concerned with the rural landscape of the county only. Please contact us if you have a specific query about landscape character in urban areas.

    Planning and development advice

    Landscape character is an important factor that is considered in the assessment of planning applications. These pages have been designed specifically with residential development in mind.

    If you have queries about other types of development - infrastructure, industry etc - please contact us directly.

    Generally, an application for residential development should show that the key characteristics of the Landscape Type of the intended site have been considered in the siting, design, scale and layout of any proposed change. Wherever possible, development should strive to strengthen landscape character, retaining and conserving existing features whilst seeking opportunities to restore or enhance others.

    This is fundamental to the principle of generating landscape gain – i.e. the concept that it is no longer acceptable simply to mitigate to maintain the status quo and that any change must be accompanied by considerable benefit to the landscape.

    Download PDF versions of Planning and Development Advice Sheets:

    Planning and development guidelines

    For the purposes of residential development applications, the following questions will be asked during the assessment process when considering the potential landscape character impact(s) of the proposal.

    If you are planning on submitting an application, you should ensure that you have considered each of these in your submission.

    Help:

    (i) To find out which Landscape Type your site is in visit the Worcestershire Landscape Character Assessment Maps portal and use the grid reference or zoom tools to navigate to your site.

    (ii) You can access the generic Landscape Type profile and the specific Landscape Description Unit profiles for the site directly by clicking on the map itself. These will tell you the significant (primary/secondary) landscape characteristics, the settlement pattern and any detailed information relevant to that specific Landscape Description Unit.

    (iii) General opportunities for landscape gain for each Landscape Type are identified in our Advice sheets. You should consider working these into your design wherever possible.

    1. Is the Landscape Type Settled or Unsettled?

    Development is not appropriate in the unsettled Landscape Types, unless in exceptional circumstances of regional or national significance or in occasional instances where there is local deviation from Type for historic reasons.

    The unsettled Landscape Types are:

    • High Hills and Slopes
    • Wooded Forest
    • Riverside Meadows
    • Wet Pasture Meadows

    2. Is the proposal appropriate to the settlement pattern of the Landscape Type?

    Settlement pattern is, quite simply, the pattern in which settlements are laid out in the landscape. Those Landscape Types that are settled will have a distinctive settlement pattern type. The different types are defined as:

    • Nucleated - Discrete, usually large villages with a low level of dispersal. There is little settlement beyond the village boundary and the farmsteads are contained within the fabric of the village.
    • Clustered - Discrete settlement nuclei (small villages and/or hamlets) associated with a moderate to high level of dispersal. Dwellings are centred on an inner core, often the church, but farmsteads are situated outside the village in open countryside.
    • Wayside - Small clusters/strings of wayside dwellings, associated with a moderate/high level of dispersal.
    • Dispersed - Scattered farmsteads and rural dwellings associated with a low to moderate to density of dispersal.
    • Scattered - A very low dispersal of individual farmsteads and rural dwellings.
    • Unsettled - Landscape lacking human habitation

    For example, the settlement pattern of Principal Timbered Farmlands is dispersed: farmsteads and strings of wayside dwellings associated with a lo w to moderate density of dispersal.

    New development in this Landscape Type would be expected to have considered this in the planning stage and for the location and layout to conform to or enhance this pattern.

    3. Is the landscape in good condition?

    Landscape condition is formally assessed using a pre-defined method of assessment that requires detailed knowledge of landscape character and attributes, and this analysis will form part of the assessment of submitted applications.

    Whilst applicants could not be expected to undertake such an analysis, you can at least make a basic comparison between the site as it is now and the landscape character description, noting how it conforms to or deviates from what would be expected given the generic Landscape Type.

    Consider each of the key characteristics – e.g. enclosure type and pattern, land use, settlement pattern - noting whether they are present and in good condition, absent, or still present but in poor condition. Also note whether the character of the landscape has been weakened by the addition of uncharacteristic features.

    Be aware that, in some instances, landscape condition can be so poor and denuded (by loss or inappropriate addition) as to differ markedly from the defined type. Proposals should seek positively to reverse rather than exacerbate this poor condition.

    4. Does the proposal adversely affect significant characteristics of the Landscape Type?

    Each Landscape Type possesses significant (key) characteristics that are the greatest contributors to defining the character of that landscape. For example, the key characteristics of the High Hills and Slopes Landscape Type (as seen, in Worcestershire, on the summits and upper slopes of the Malvern Hills) are:

    Primary characteristics

    • Prominent area of highland topography.
    • Unsettled with few signs of habitation.
    • Open and exposed with panoramic views.
    • Unenclosed.
    • Extensive areas of acid grassland.

    Secondary characteristics

    • Rough grazing.
    • Absence of woodland.

    The key characteristics of each Landscape Type are given in their own advice sheet.

    Consider the primary and/or secondary attributes listed for the Landscape Type in question and determine if they are likely to be affected by the proposed development.

    This would also be a good opportunity to consider how these primary or secondary characteristics could be enhanced or addressed in the design of the proposal, including choice of building materials in those Landscape Types where these constitute a significant characteristic e.g. Principal Timbered Farmlands.

    5. Are there opportunities for landscape gain?

    As explained in the introduction above, landscape gain is the notion of seeking proactively to bring benefit to the landscape rather than simply mitigating to prevent damage as a result of change or development.

    Opportunities for landscape gain should be primarily associated with the primary or secondary attributes associated with the Landscape Type, or the specific site in question.

    Note that, while landscape gain may most obviously be associated with the site itself, it doesn't necessarily have be restricted to this. Innovative ideas, for example involving agreements with adjacent landowners, may well be more beneficial to the overall landscape and will be welcomed.

    Land management advice

    Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) provides a useful framework for the setting out of priorities for land and habitat management, being as it is, a spatially-referenced, systematic process for the description of the rural landscape.

    LCA is primarily concerned with describing the inherent character of landscape – that is how the physiographic (geology, topography, soils) and cultural (land use, tree cover and settlement pattern) elements have combined to produce the distinctive patterns that allow us to distinguish one type of landscape from another.

    The inherent character of landscape is determined with reference to its historical development in addition to field survey, but the condition of the landscape will affect how the inherent character is expressed on the ground today. A landscape in poor condition may have one of more of its key characteristics lacking or under-represented, or uncharacteristic features may have been added.

    Through the consideration of both inherent character and current condition, it is possible to start to determine general opportunities for activities which will strengthen landscape character, by ensuring that, wherever possible, the characteristics appropriate to each Landscape Type that should be present, are present and are well-represented.

    Download PDF versions of Land Management Advice Sheets:

    Land Management Guidelines

    Tailoring Advice

    It is essential to note at the outset that any advice given on these pages and in the advice sheets is intended to act only as a guideline for the area in general terms, based on the key characteristics of the generic Landscape Type as well as fundamental trends in condition that have been noted for that Landscape Type within the county.

    Being at such a broad-brush scale, it does not replace the need for site survey or expert advice specific to any planned work. Suggestions will need to be interpreted within the context of each individual site as variation will occur within areas being identified as the same Landscape Type.

    They may, for example, contain features such as parkland or commons which are too small in themselves to be considered as landscapes in their own right but which are valuable contributors to the identity of the area. Specific management guidelines would need to be prepared for such sites rather than the general ones proposed for the Landscape Type as a whole.

    Key Characteristics

    The management suggestions for each Landscape Type are based, on a consideration of both the inherent characteristics of Landscape Type and the general concerns regarding the challenges to the condition of those characteristics in the landscape today.

    Each Landscape Type possesses significant (key) characteristics that are the greatest contributors to defining the character of that landscape. For example, the key characteristics of the High Hills and Slopes Landscape Type (as seen, in Worcestershire, on the summits and upper slopes of the Malvern Hills) are:

    Primary characteristics

    • Prominent area of highland topography
    • Unsettled with few signs of habitation
    • Open and exposed with panoramic views
    • Unenclosed
    • Extensive areas of acid grassland

    Secondary characteristics

    • Rough grazing
    • Absence of woodland

    The key characteristics of each Landscape Type are given in their own advice sheet. Alternatively, you can access the information from the Landscape Type pages or by using the Info tool in the mapping portal.

    Advice Categories

    Generally, the landscape guidelines for each Landscape Type relate to the following four categories of advice:

    • Conservation - indicates an emphasis on conserving and managing the pattern and key elements present in the landscape; applied in landscapes where the inherent character is still well represented today
    • Restoration - indicates an emphasis on restoring or replacing landscape features or habitats that have been lost – applied in landscapes where some elements are poorly represented or fragmented
    • Enhancement - indicates an emphasis on strengthening existing features, adding to them or maintaining links between them, perhaps compensating for features that have been lost – e.g. enhancement of watercourse tree cover and corridors as a means of improving habitat linkage in landscapes (e.g. arable) where hedgerows no longer retain their functional value and are less likely to be replaced
    • Re-creation - indicates an emphasis on creating or re-introducing landscape features or habitats that may have been lost from the landscape but which have a valuable role in the historical development of that landscape or which have substantial biodiversity value – e.g. opportunities to convert drained arable land back to wet pasture.

    Glossary

    Glossary of terms used in Landscape Character Assessment

    Ancient Wooded Character

    Wooded landscapes characterised by woodlands of mixed native broadleaved species with a varied age structure, often of ancient origin (as defined on the Ancient Woodland Inventory). The woodland pattern often displays clear signs of piecemeal woodland clearance, such as irregular woodland outlines, woodland place names etc.

    Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

    A statutory designation intended to conserve the natural scenic beauty of an area. Identified by the Countryside Commission (now Natural England) and administered by Local Authorities, or, in the case of the Cotswolds AONB, by a Conservation Board.

    Assart

    A parcel of land that has been assarted.

    Assarting

    The act of clearing forested land for the purpose of agriculture or other purpose. Whereas waste of a forest involves felling trees and other shrubbery, this vegetation can grow again; assarting involves completely rooting up all trees - the total extirpation of the forested area.

    Attributes

    The different ways in which an indicator (of landscape character) may be expressed in the landscape e.g. the indicator of settlement pattern may be unsettled, clustered, nucleated, wayside, dispersed or scattered.

    Buffer Zone

    An area or zone that helps to protect a habitat from damage, disturbance or pollution.

    Characteristic Features

    The presence of natural or heritage features that recur with sufficient frequency to be considered an integral part of the character of a particular landscape.

    Chasmophytes

    Plants which grow in crevices in rocks or rock faces.

    Consistency

    The degree to which an attribute is recognisable and represented throughout the landscape.

    Corridor

    A strip of land of a particular type that differs from the adjacent land on both sides (corridors have several important functions, including conduit, barrier and habitat).

    Cropping

    Dominance of arable farming characterised by field vegetables and/or market gardening.

    Discrete Woods

    Separate and clearly defined blocks of woodland. Some linkage may be afforded by hedgerows.

    Enclosure Pattern

    The form of the cultural dimension of the landscape as defined by the inherent pattern of fields and lanes.

    Eutrophic

    A water body with high nutrient levels, often a result of intensive agricultural production. Such water bodies are characterised by low dissolved oxygen levels, excessive algal blooms and a general poor water quality.

    Exposed Spatial Character

    Extensive areas, often unenclosed, where the lack of three dimensional elements allows wide, distant views which give a strong impression of sky and space.

    Farmland

    Areas occurring on a wide variety of soil types that have been under mainstream cultivation for a long time and which lack the distinct relic plant communities that would have a significant contribution to landscape character.

    Farm Type (Land Use)

    The dominant type of farming enterprise that reflects the inherent capability of the land.

    Field Boundaries

    The physical boundaries defining the perimeter of agricultural fields.

    Function

    The relevance, in today’s landscape, of the combination of factors which originally gave rise to a particular attribute - in other words, the degree to which an attribute has a function in today’s landscape.

    Geographic Information System (GIS)

    A computer facility that enables the layering of map based information.

    Groups

    See Tree Groups

    Heath/Acid Grassland

    Plant communities typically developed on free draining, nutrient poor soils. Indicator species may include gorse (Ulex), bracken (Pteridium), ling (Calluna), Purple heather (Erica cinerea). Localised areas of poor drainage may be present. Indicator species for these may include cross leaved heath (Erica tetralix) and rush (Juncus sp).

    Heathy/Acid Grassland Relic

    Remnants of former plant communities developed on free draining nutrient poor soils, now represented by a restricted range of indicator species - gorse or bracken usually found along roadsides or woodland edges.

    Hedges

    A general category embracing hedgerows of single and mixed species composition.

    Hedge and Ditch

    As above, with associated man made dry or wet drainage channels.

    Improved Grassland

    Grassland communities that have a reduced floristic diversity due to the application of fertilisers or other added nutrients.

    Indicative Ground Vegetation

    Semi-natural plant communities (excluding woodland, scrub and hedges), reflecting the physiography of the areas and which visually contribute to the interpretation of the landscape character.

    Indicators

    Specific characteristics that, in combination, make up landscape character. They can be divided into definitive indicators (those that define landscape character) and descriptive indicators (those that provide additional detailed description).

    Definitive indicators - geology, topography, soils, settlement pattern, tree cover character, and land use.
    Descriptive indicators - enclosure pattern, tree cover pattern, indicative ground vegetation, field boundaries, spatial character and additional special characteristic features.

    Intimate Spatial Character

    A landscape of restricted views where there is a consistently small field pattern (less than 4 hectares) and the close proximity of other elements creates a strong sense of enclosure.

    Key Characteristics

    Those attributes that are visually prominently and consistent throughout a particular Landscape Type, and are therefore most significant in its definition.

    Land Cover Parcel (LCP)

    These are the sub-landscape units arising from the subdivision of Landscape Description Units based on variations in modern land use and the historic patterns of field enclosure. They are the most homogenous of the range of landscape units, with least variation of attributes.

    Landscape

    The human perception of the land at a scale that is smaller than the global environment but larger than the individual site.

    Landscape Character

    An expression of pattern, resulting from particular combinations of natural (physical and biological) and cultural factors that make one place different from another.

    Landscape Character Assessment

    An analysis of the character of the landscape based on predetermined objective criteria and characteristics. The process of landscape characterisation involves the classification and description of areas of homogeneous character in which the constituent elements occur in repeating patterns. It is an objective analysis, describing the components that make an area different from another, conveying an informed picture of the landscape but avoiding personal preference or valued judgements about the importance of one area relative to another.

    Landscape Description Unit (LDU)

    A Landscape Description Unit is a representation of a Landscape Type in a specific location. These are the basic building blocks of the landscape and are defined by a combination of six key characteristics relating to geology, topography, soils, tree cover character, land use and historic settlement pattern.

    Landscape Type (LT)

    Landscape Types are areas that are visually different from one another, those differences being defined by a particular combination of characteristics.

    Land Use

    See Farm Type.

    Large Spatial Character

    Open areas usually with a large scale enclosure pattern (field size consistently greater than 8 hectares). The pattern is defined by field boundaries and/or other three dimensional elements such as woodland.

    Linear Tree Cover Pattern

    Areas where the tree cover is characterised by lines of trees or narrow bands of woodland normally associated with streams, ditches or other linear water features.

    Linked/Interlocking Tree Cover Pattern

    Frequent woodland blocks and/or wooded corridors forming physically or visually linking patterns, creating the impression of a heavily wooded landscape.

    Meadow

    Land, usually level and low-lying, devoted to grasses and short herbs, which is mown annually for hay.

    Medium-framed Spatial Character

    Areas with medium to large sized fields, (consistently greater than 4 hectares), where views are typically framed by discrete blocks of woodland or lines of trees.

    Medium-open Spatial Character

    Open landscapes with a medium scale enclosure pattern (field size consistently greater than 4 hectares) defined by field boundaries and/or other three dimensional elements.

    Meso-oligotrophic

    Habitats with low nutrient levels.

    Mesotrophic

    Habitats (water bodies, grasslands) with moderate nutrient levels - greater than oligotrophic but less than eutrophic

    Mitigation

    Measures taken to reduce adverse impacts e.g. the provision of suitable planting to screen a development.

    Mixed Land Use

    Farming enterprises that have a mix of both arable and pasture land uses.

    Nitrophilous

    (Organisms) preferring a nutrient rich environment.

    Oligotrophic

    Water or soils with very low nutrient levels. Oligotrophic water bodies are characterised by high dissolved oxygen levels, low algal production and a general high water quality.

    Organic Enclosure Pattern

    An irregular enclosure pattern, often the result of direct piece-meal clearance of woodland, and associated with an irregular network of winding lanes.

    Park

    An area of grassland characterised by groups and/or individual mature trees usually associated with a castle or large country house. Ornamental planting, lodges, lakes etc. are frequent associated features.

    Pastoral

    Grassland landscapes characterised by grazing animals associated with dairying and/or stock rearing.

    Pasture

    An area of land dominated by grass, which is used only for grazing, as distinct from a meadow that is mown.

    Planned Enclosure Pattern

    An ordered pattern of lanes and rectilinear fields with mainly straight boundaries.

    Planned Woodland Character

    Wooded landscapes characterised by estate plantations and/or belts or trees with regular outlines, a predominantly even age structure and a limited range of non-ornamental native or exotic species.

    Pollards

    Trees with branches regularly cut off at a height of between 2-3 metres.

    Regional Character Areas

    Extensive, individual areas at a broad-brush, regional scale that are identified by description.

    Replaceability

    The degree in which it is possible to replace an element in its original form, reflecting the time it would take to replace an element and the degree to which it can be replaced on a like-for-like basis.

    Resilience

    Resilience provides a measure of the endurance of landscape character, defined by the likelihood of change in relation to the degree to which the landscape is able to tolerate that change (replaceability). Resilience reflects the significance, trend, vulnerability and replaceability of the various attributes within a given Landscape type.

    Riparian

    The interface between land and a flowing surface water body - typically pertaining to, or on, a river bank.

    Rough Grazing

    Land use characterised by low intensity grazing of rough pasture associated with poor soils.

    Scattered Tree Cover Pattern

    Pattern defined by densely or thinly scattered trees most often associated with hedgerows, together with watercourses and fields.

    Scattered Settlement Pattern

    A very low dispersal of individual farmsteads and rural dwellings.

    Sensitivity

    The sensitivity of a given area of landscape represents the resilience of the attributes of that landscape, combined with a measure of their condition. In other words, sensitivity reflects the actual resilience of a given area of landscape, by relating the generic resilience of that landscape to the degree to which its inherent character is present, reflected through the measure of condition of that landscape.

    Significance

    The significance of an attribute is defined as the degree to which that attribute contributes to the overall character of a landscape, and is represented as a combination of its consistency, in terms of its presence and pattern, and its visual prominence in that landscape. Attributes can be classed as being of either primary, secondary or tertiary significance.

    Small Spatial Character

    A landscape of small- to medium-sized fields (field size consistently less than 4 hectares) where scattered trees and/or small woods and copses create filtered views.

    Spatial Character

    The visual perception of spatial character as defined by the combination of open spaces, views and elements that make up the landscape.

    Sub-regular Enclosure Pattern

    An interlocking, regular pattern of fields and lanes with curving boundaries.

    Tree Cover

    Relates to the overall cover of individual trees and/or woodland of an area.

    Tree Cover Character

    Relates to the origin and overall composition of tree and woodland cover.

    Tree Cover Pattern

    Relates to the spatial juxtaposition of individual trees and woodland cover and the shapes of woodlands.

    Treed

    Landscapes in which trees rather than woodland comprise the dominant visual element of tree cover.

    Tree Groups

    Areas where the pattern of tree cover is solely characterised by discrete groups and/or small assemblages of trees, usually associated with farmsteads and or rural settlements

    Trend (in relation to attributes)

    A prediction of the likelihood of an attribute changing in the future, based on analysis of recent and present day change.

    Unenclosed

    Open, usually rough mountain, marsh or common grazing land.

    Unimproved Grassland

    Grassland with plant communities that have not been affected by the application of fertilisers or other significant additions of nutrients.

    Unwooded

    Areas where tree cover is virtually absent. These are areas in which past and present management practices have generally precluded the establishment of tree cover. The regeneration of tree cover may be evident if management practices are removed or reduced. Elsewhere poor soil depth or accumulations of peat may inhibit tree growth today.

    Veteran Tree

    An ancient, or veteran, tree is one that has reached a great age and size compared to others of the same species, or that shows characteristic veteran features such as hollowing and fungal rot, cracks and cavities in the trunk, or retraction of the canopy (often leaving bare stag-headed branches). Different species of tree grow and age at different rates and will therefore become ancient at different stages of their lifespan. They have huge interest historically, culturally and ecologically.

    Visual Prominence

    The degree to which the defined attribute is visually prominent in the landscape.

    Vulnerability

    The likelihood of change to or loss of an attribute, reflected as a measure of the degree to which an attribute has a role to play (i.e. maintains a function) in the landscape.

    Wetland

    An area of land with plant communities associated with seasonally or permanently waterlogged soils. Indicators species may include rush or common reed (Phragmites).

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