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Issue 42 August '13

Wednesday 28th August 2013

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Landscape Character Guidelines

In 2005 Land Use Consultants completed a Landscape Character Assessment of the West Wight. The report identified the natural, built and cultural features that give the area its special qualities. 
It also identified the types of landscape that characterise the West Wight and produced guidelines for the stewardship of each. These should be consulted when developing projects for our grants programme as we will not support bids that do not accord with these principles.
A summary of the guidelines are given below or click here to download the full report.

West Wight Landscape Character Types

(Click on Character Type to download map or Character Area to link  to summary of guidelines)
Character Types Character Areas
Type1: Chalk Downs
1A: Tennyson Down
1B: Compton Down
1C: Brighstone Down
Type 2: Greensand Hills
2A: Brighstone Greensand Hills
Type 3: Clay Farmland
3A: Chilton Clay Farmland
Type 4: Bays
4A: Freshwater Bay
4B: Alum Bay
4C: Totland and Colwell Bays
4D: Thorness Bay
Type 5: Estuaries
5A: Newtown Estuary
5B: Yar Estuary
Type 6: Open Farmland
6A: Thorley and Wellow Open Farmland
Type 7: Settled Farmland
7A: Freshwater Isle
Type 8: Soft Cliffs
8A: Headon
8B: Bouldnor
8C: Hannover
Type 9: Rolling Farmland          
9A: Calbourne Rolling Farmland
Type 10: Seascape
10A: West Wight Seascape

1A Tennyson Down

Landscape Guidelines
  • Conserve the open undeveloped character of Tennyson Down and the wide views across the cliffs and sea to the south and the farmland to the north
  • Conserve the calcareous grassland of high biodiversity value and take opportunities to extend this habitat
  • Manage the gorse enrich its value as a habitat and to keep it to current areas and avoid encroachment into grassland
  • Encourage management of the woodland on the northern slopes including to enhance its biodiversity value including creation of glades of calcareous grassland where appropriate
  • Preserve the historic built features and archaeological remains
  • Keep signage, paths and fencing discrete in character
  • Take opportunities to increase access where this can be balanced with conservation of the landscape fabric, for instance avoiding excessive wear and tear on paths and grassland
  • Consider linked educational and recreational initiatives through West Wight on historical or ecological themes for instance on fortifications

1B Compton Down

Landscape Guidelines
  • Conserve the peaceful, remote feel of the area
  • Conserve the open views from Compton Down across the sea and Greensand Hills to the south and the clay farmland to the north
  • Continue to regulate grazing to optimise the ecological value of the chalk grassland and extend this to the golf course
  • Take opportunities to enhance the biodiversity and recreation value of the disused quarries
  • Encourage sustainable management of the woodland, introducing glades of chalk grassland where appropriate
  • Resist expansion and intensification of management of golf course, such as increased irrigation, use of fertilisers or additional bunkers
  • Preserve the archaeological remains
  • Keep signage, paths and fencing discrete in character
  • Take opportunities to increase access where this can be balanced with conservation of the landscape fabric, for instance avoiding excessive wear and tear on paths and grassland

1C Brighstone Down

Landscape Guidelines
  • Conserve the peaceful, rural landscape
  • Conserve the open views from the chalk grassland of the ridge towards the Greensand Hills to the south and the sea beyond
  • Continue to regulate grazing to optimise the ecological value of the chalk grassland
  • Take opportunities to enhance the biodiversity and recreation value of the disused quarries
  • Encourage sustainable management of the woodland, introducing glades of heathland and chalk grassland where appropriate
  • Consider restoring areas of chalk grassland around significant archaeological remains such as Bronze Age burial mounds currently obscured by woodland
  • Promote sensitive restoration and appropriate use of derelict traditional farm buildings
  • Keep signage, paths and fencing discrete in character
  • Take opportunities to increase access where this can be balanced with conservation of the landscape fabric, for instance avoiding excessive wear and tear on paths and grassland


2A Brighstone Greensand Hills

Landscape Guidelines
  • Conserve the sense of peacefulness with sparse settlement
  • Enhance the ecologically valuable heathland through regulating the level of grazing and take opportunities to extend this habitat
  • Encourage restocking of hedgerows and consistent management to reflect historic patterns
  • Conserve sites of historic interest, archaeological features
  • Encourage sustainable management of woodland using traditional methods such as coppice where appropriate
  • Conserve the small scale settlements of historic character and traditional materials
  • Minimise small scale incremental change such as signage, fencing or improvements to the road network which could change the rural character of the landscape particularly the sunken lanes
  • Enhance the ecological and recreational function of disused quarry pits
  • Enhance interpretation of the landscape in ways that do not impact on its peaceful rural character (for instance walking trails, leaflets, discrete signage and guided walks)

3A Chilton Clay Farmland

Landscape Guidelines
  • Encourage conversion of arable to pasture land particularly along the cliff tops to enhance the grassland habitat
  • Improve ecological and nature conservation value of mixed woodland and rough marsh grazing through habitat creation
  • Promote margins of rough grass around arable fields to enhance the habitat
  • Protect traditional agricultural features such as the hedgerow boundaries, restoring these and ensuring consistent future management
  • Avoid further intrusive coastal development, and mitigate the visual impact of existing development
  • Conserve the historic village centres
  • Protect coastal views
  • Regulate increased tourist pressures but allow improved recreational facilities through better management of the landscape fabric, such as paths and signage
  • Enhance interpretation of the landscape in ways that do not impact on the peaceful, rural character of the area (for instance walking trails, leaflets, discrete signage and guided walks)
  • Minimise small scale incremental change such as signage, fencing or improvements to the road network which could change the simple open character of the landscape
  • Promote sensitive restoration and appropriate use of derelict traditional farm buildings

4A Freshwater Bay

Landscape Guidelines
  • Conserve the natural elements of the character of the bay, the rugged steep cliffs unaffected by sea defences and shelving beach of pebbles and sand
  • Conserve the ecological resource of the area, the fauna and seaweeds of the tide swept chalk reef, and the cliff vegetation
  • Encourage public access to the area but retain sense of naturalness through careful design of routes and infrastructure such as handrails, dog bins, lighting, signage and path surfaces
  • Enhance interpretation of the landscape in ways that do not impact on the peaceful, natural character of the area (for instance walking trails, leaflets, discrete signage and guided walks)
  • Carry out systematic archaeological field survey and appropriate ongoing monitoring of the archaeological resource

4B Alum Bay

Landscape Guidelines
  • Conserve the natural elements of the character of the bay, the tall cliffs and shelving beach of pebbles and sand
  • Conserve the ecological resource of the area, the sub-tidal and inter-tidal flora and cliff top grassland
  • Encourage public access to the area but retain sense of naturalness through careful design of routes and infrastructure such as path surfaces, handrails, dog bins and signage
  • Enhance interpretation of the landscape in ways that do not impact on the peaceful, natural character of the area (for instance walking trails, leaflets, discrete signage and guided walks)
  • Carry out systematic archaeological field survey and appropriate ongoing monitoring of the archaeological resource

4C Totland and Colwell Bays

Landscape Guidelines
  • Conserve the natural elements of the character of the bays, the low cliffs and beaches of sand and pebbles
  • Conserve the distinctive traditional seaside buildings such as the pier, landing stages, lifeboat stations, and also the military heritage of forts and batteries
  • Encourage public access to the area but retain sense of naturalness through careful design of routes and infrastructure such as path surfaces, handrails, dog bins and signage
  • Enhance interpretation of the landscape and in particular the military heritage in ways that do not impact on the peaceful character of the area (for instance walking trails, leaflets, discrete signage and guided walks)
  • Encourage active management of the cliff top woodland
  • Use tree and shrub planting echoing the style of existing mixed mature woodland to screen and reduce the impact of existing unsympathetic cliff top settlement
  • Ensure that new settlement (particularly on the cliff top) is not intrusive in views from the bays
  • Carry out systematic archaeological field survey and ongoing monitoring of the archaeological resource.

4D Thorness Bay
Landscape Guidelines
  • Conserve the natural elements of the character of the bays, the low cliffs and beaches of sand and pebbles
  • Encourage public access to the area but retain sense of naturalness through careful design of routes and infrastructure such as path surfaces, handrails, dog bins and signage
  • Enhance interpretation of the landscape in ways that do not impact on the peaceful character of the area (for instance walking trails, leaflets, discrete signage and guided walks)
  • Ensure that new settlement (particularly on the cliff top) is not intrusive in views from the bays
  • Carry out systematic archaeological field survey and appropriate ongoing monitoring of the archaeological resource

5A Newtown Estuary

Landscape Guidelines
  • Conserve the natural, remote, and unsettled character of the Newtown Estuary
  • Conserve and enhance the biodiversity value of the area through active management of the estuarine habitats, the surrounding coastal marshes, and the woodland
  • Encourage improvements in public access and interpretation that are sensitive to the remote and untouched character of the area and do not cause negative impacts on the ecological value
  • Carry out systematic archaeological field survey and ongoing monitoring of the archaeological resource


5B Yar Estuary

Landscape Guidelines
  • Conserve the natural, remote, and unsettled character which dominates the Yar Estuary and protect it from intrusive new development including moorings
  • Conserve and enhance the biodiversity value of the area through active management of the estuarine habitats, the surrounding coastal marshes, and the scrub and woodland
  • Encourage improvements in public access and interpretation that are sensitive to the remote and untouched character of the area and do not cause negative impacts on the ecological value
  • Carry out systematic archaeological field survey and ongoing monitoring of the archaeological resource

6A Thorley and Wellow Open Farmland

Landscape Guidelines
  • Conserve the sense of remoteness and isolation, with sparse settlement and road network and limited visible development
  • Protect archaeological features and consider opportunities for extending areas of pasture around archaeological remains
  • Promote sensitive restoration and appropriate use of derelict traditional farm buildings
  • Encourage restoration and replanting of hedgerows and consistent management
  • Promote margins of rough grass around arable fields to enhance the habitat
  • Promote appropriate management of the important limestone grassland at Prospect Quarry and take opportunities to create more of the habitat throughout the area
  • Encourage sustainable management of woodlands including traditional techniques such as coppicing
  • Minimise small scale incremental change such as signage, fencing or improvements to the road network which could change the simple open character of the landscape

7A Freshwater Isle

Landscape Guidelines
  • Conserve the sense of a rural, small scale landscape of winding lanes and small settlements
  • Ensure consistent management of the hedgerow network and nurture new hedgerow trees to replace mature stock in the long term
  • Promote margins of rough grass around arable fields to enhance the habitat for flowers and invertebrates
  • Conserve and restore as appropriate the historic parklands and key visual features such as coniferous shelter belts
  • Encourage sustainable management of woodlands including traditional techniques such as coppicing
  • Take opportunities to improve the visual integration of large scale development leisure developments for instance through planting in the historic character of cliff top shelter belts, or hedgerows and hedgerow trees
  • Minimise small scale incremental change such as signage, fencing or improvements to the road network which could change the rural character of the landscape
  • Enhance interpretation of the landscape in ways that do not impact on the peaceful, rural character of the area (for instance walking trails, leaflets, discrete signage and guided walks)

8A Headon Soft Cliff

Landscape Guidelines
  • Conserve the natural, remote character of the cliff
  • Protect the views out to sea and across the farmland and downs
  • Encourage public access to the area but retain sense of remoteness and minimise the pressure on the heathland vegetation through careful design and placing of routes and infrastructure
  • Protect the areas of heathland and geologically important cliff features
  • Encourage interpretation for the public of the biodiversity, history and geology of the area including the process of landslip through methods that will not impact on the natural ambiance of the area such as leaflets, trails and guided walks
  • Carry out systematic archaeological field survey and ongoing monitoring of the archaeological resource

8B Bouldnor Soft Cliff

Landscape Guidelines
  • Conserve the natural, remote character of the cliff
  • Protect the views out to sea and across the farmland and downs
  • Encourage public access to the area but retain sense of remoteness and minimise the pressure on the heathland vegetation through careful design and placing of routes and infrastructure
  • Protect the areas of heathland and geologically important cliff features
  • Encourage interpretation for the public of the biodiversity, history and geology of the area including the process of landslip through methods that will not impact on the natural ambiance of the area such as leaflets, trails and guided walks
  • Carry out systematic archaeological field survey and ongoing monitoring of the archaeological resource

8C Hanover Soft Cliff

Landscape Guidelines
  • Conserve the natural, remote character of the cliff
  • Protect the views out to sea
  • Encourage public access to the area side but retain sense of remoteness and minimise the pressure on the woodland, scrub and beaches through careful design of routes and infrastructure
  • Protect geologically important features
  • Encourage interpretation for the public of the biodiversity, history and geology of the area including the process of landslip through schemes that will not impact on the naturalness and tranquillity of the area such as leaflets and guided walks
  • Carry out systematic archaeological field survey and ongoing monitoring of the archaeological resource

9A Calbourne Rolling Farmland

Landscape Guidelines
  • Conserve the sense of peacefulness, with sparse settlement and road network and limited visible development
  • Ensure consistent management of the hedgerow network and nurture new hedgerow trees to replace mature stock in the long term
  • Leave margins of rough grass around arable fields to provide enhanced habitats for mammals, invertebrates and birds
  • Take opportunities to restore areas of neutral grassland and heathland habitats
  • Protect the sites of historic interest and above ground archaeological features
  • Conserve historic landscape features such as estate boundaries, medieval enclosed woodland and wood pasture
  • Restore historic features where appropriate for instance designed landscape of the parklands
  • Encourage sustainable management of the woodland using traditional maintenance methods such as coppice where appropriate
  • Conserve the small scale settlements of historic character and traditional materials
  • Take opportunities to improve the visual integration of large scale development leisure developments for instance through planting in the historic character of woodland blocks linked by hedgerows and hedgerow trees
  • Minimise small scale incremental change such as signage, fencing or improvements to the road network which could change the simple open character of the landscape
  • Take opportunities for enhance recreational access for instance using the disused railway track for cycling and walking
  • Enhance interpretation of the landscape in ways that do not impact on the peaceful, rural character of the area (for instance walking trails, leaflets, discrete signage and guided walks)

10A West Wight Seascape

Landscape Guidelines
  • Conserve the views to the remote and natural cliffs and bays of West Wight
  • Conserve the ecologically important habitats and species particularly the chalk caves and reefs, the many varieties of birds and marine species
  • Protect the historic forts and lighthouses that fringe the area
  • Encourage investigation and conservation of significant archaeological remains of wrecks