Kent Downs AONB Landscape Character Assessment Update

For Kent Downs AONB (Ongoing)

The previous Kent Downs Landscape Character Assessment was undertaken in 1995. Therefore an update was commissioned to inform the forthcoming revision of the AONB Management Plan. The updated Landscape Character Assessment takes into account current Landscape Character Assessment methodology, and has been subject to extensive stakeholder input and consultation.

The project has offered the opportunity to re-visit the photo locations from the 1995 Assessment, and to record the changes which have taken place in the landscape in the intervening 22 years. These include the re-growth of scarp-top woodland following the 1987 hurricane; the maturing of planting schemes associated with the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (HS1); the effects of Ash Dieback disease, and the planting of grapevines. The project also looks ahead and provides recommendations on landscape strategies for the future.

Exmoor National Park Landscape Character Assessment Update

With Countryscape, Alison Farmer Associates and Douglas Mitcham (Ongoing)

Since the previous Exmoor Landscape Character Assessment was written in 2007, a great deal of new research has been undertaken on Exmoor, new concepts such as ecosystem services and natural capital have become mainstream, and the emphasis and presentation of landscape character assessments has developed. This major piece of work is an opportunity to integrate new information on archaeology, landscape history and moorland management, and to identify the natural capital and ecosystem services associated with various landscape types. The presentation has been updated to provide greater emphasis on perceptual and cultural qualities of the landscape, as well as its physical characteristics. This has involved extensive photography by Fiona, as well as sourcing a wide variety of images of Exmoor by past and contemporary artists. Importantly, the project provides an opportunity to look ahead and develop new visions and management strategies for the various landscape types, which will in turn protect and enhance Exmoor’s landscapes in the future. The document contains a new section on Planning Guidelines, and the document is intended to be adopted as supplementary planning guidance.

Ynys Cybi Landscape Partnership Landscape and Seascape Character Assessment

With Countryscape (2016)

The Tir & Môr Ynys Cybi Land& Sea Landscape Partnership is unusual in that its boundary contains terrestrial, inter-tidal and marine areas. The Landscape Character Assessment which supported the successful HLF Funding submission therefore needed to provide information on all these landscape and seascape types. Fiona achieved this by adapting and simplifying the relevant sections of the Anglesey and Snowdonia Seascape Character Assessment which she had completed a few years previously, to produce a document which provides a suitable basis for community use and Landscape Partnership decision-making. The document identifies nine distinctive landscape and seascape types within the study area, and describes their key characteristics, natural influences, cultural influences and perceptual qualities. Issues and forces for change affecting the landscapes are described, along with project opportunities under the themes of the Landscape Partnership. Community consultation was undertaken with local residents and stakeholders on how people describe the Ynys Cybi landscape, how it makes them feel, and their concerns about issues affecting the landscape.

Romney Marsh Landscape Character Assessment

(2016)

This Landscape Character Assessment was commissioned jointly by Kent Wildlife Trust (on behalf of the Fifth Continent Landscape Partnership) and Shepway District Council. It is intended to inform both the Fifth Continent Landscape Conservation Action Plan and Shepway District Council’s forthcoming Places and Policies Local Plan. Romney Marsh is a unique landscape with a very strong sense of place. The character of the landscape today varies subtly across Romney Marsh, reflecting several centuries of land reclamation and coastal processes. These variations (and the history behind them) are identified and described in the Landscape Character Assessment. The study area also includes the distinctive shingle landscape of Dungeness, which is internationally-designated for its shingle habitats and the species they support, as well as being a popular destination for visitors.

Following-on from the Romney Marsh Landscape Assessment, a separate study was undertaken as a pilot for a new approach to landscape character assessment which is being discussed within Kent. In this approach, the focus is on the features of the landscape that need to be conserved in order to retain the character of the landscape. The intention is that by showing how character is defined by patterns of features, the process will help to make informed decisions about the impacts of change and development on landscape character. The four landscape elements chosen for the pilot study were watercourses, rural lanes, shingle and parish churches.

Landscape Connections and Perceptions — A Cornish Pilot Study

Fiona Fyfe Associates with Plymouth University (2015)

This European Social Fund project is being undertaken with Plymouth University. It is a research-based pilot project based in four contrasting landscapes around Cornwall. The aims of the project are:

  • To ascertain differences in how rural landscapes are perceived within the rural landscapes themselves and in neighbouring towns.
  • To understand the barriers which prevent residents accessing local landscapes.
  • To make recommendations on how these barriers can be overcome to create positive social and health benefits.
  • To investigate differences in people’s perceptions of different landscape types.
  • To find the locations of people’s favourite views, and why they are popular.

Devon Advice Note on using Landscape Character Assessment in Neighbourhood Plans

For Devon County Council (2015)

This document is aimed at members of the public who do not currently have technical knowledge of the landscape assessment process, but wish to use existing Landscape Character Assessments in the production of Neighbourhood Plans. It introduces the concept of landscape character assessment, and demonstrates how local communities can use Landscape Character Assessments to enhance their local environment, and to positively shape the places where they live.

The Advice Note has been adapted for use by Cranborne Chase AONB, and also by the CPRE in their nationally-applicable publication What’s Special to you: Landscape Issues in your Neighbourhood Plans, July 2017. The Devon Advice Note was Commended in the SW RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence 2017.

 

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Landscape Character Assessment for the Isle of Axholme and Hatfield Chase Landscape Partnership

With Countryscape and Steven Warnock (2014)

Published Report

This document will be submitted as part of the client’s Second Round submission to the Heritage Lottery Fund. The study area contains several rare and valuable ecological and cultural landscapes, including England’s largest areas of lowland raised mire, some of the most extensive surviving medieval strip field systems in the country, and the first landscapes in Britain to be drained by Dutch engineer Cornelius Vermuyden in the 1620s. However, the richness of the area’s landscapes is not well-known or appreciated locally or more widely. This Landscape Character Assessment tells the story of the area’s landscapes from geological times to the present day, and identifies and describes the distinct Landscape Character Areas within the study area. It also makes recommendations for landscape-based projects which could be taken forward by the Landscape Partnership to enhance the area’s distinctive landscapes, to encourage local people to engage with the landscapes on their doorstep, and to increase wider awareness of the area.

Training in the Methodology and Practical Application of Landscape Character Assessment

Delivered through the ‘Up on the Downs’ Landscape Partnership Scheme, Kent (2014)

Fiona prepared and presented a two-day training course for Local Authority Planning Officers and environment professionals from AONBs, Natural England and other organisations. The course covered a range of topics, including: introduction to landscape character assessment; the methodology for landscape character assessment; the latest guidelines for landscape and visual impact assessment, and using landscape character assessment when responding to planning applications. The course included presentations, practical fieldwork and workshop sessions. Following the course, feedback was very positive, and delegates felt much more confident using landscape character assessment and landscape and visual impact assessment in their daily work.

Northern Ireland Seascape Character Assessment

With Douglas Harman Landscape Planning, Countryscape and KP Environmental (2013)

This Seascape Character Assessment was undertaken at a regional scale, and is intended to inform the development of Marine Plans for Northern Ireland. It covers the entire 650km length of the Northern Ireland coast from Lough Foyle to Carlingford Lough, as well as estuaries, island and sea loughs. It includes marine, intertidal and terrestrial parts of the coastline, and extends 12 nautical miles offshore. Fiona contributed to the project methodology and seascape characterisation, and was responsible for sections of the report describing how cultural influences have helped to shape the development of Northern Ireland’s varied seascapes.

Anglesey and Snowdonia Seascape Character Assessment

With Countryscape and SEACAMS/ Bangor University (2013)

This project was undertaken for Anglesey Coast AONB, Snowdonia National Park and Natural Resources Wales. The study area included the coast of Anglesey, and the coast of mainland Wales from the Great Orme to the Dyfi Estuary (excluding the Lleyn Peninsula). The project was an extension of the conventional landscape character assessment process. It involved the identification and mapping of marine, intertidal and terrestrial Seascape Character Types (SCTs), and the grouping of these into geographically-distinct Seascape Character Areas (SCAs). Maps and profiles were prepared for all the SCTs and SCAs. SCT profiles describe each SCT and where it occurs. SCA profiles provide an in-depth study of each SCA, including its key characteristics, natural influences and sites, cultural influences and sites, perceptual qualities, and the cultural ecosystem services which it provides. The forces for change associated with each SCA are described, along with inherent sensitivity.

Because the majority of SCAs include a combination of marine, intertidal and terrestrial SCTs, the project provides a comprehensive overview of the physical and cultural relationships between land and sea, and how these have developed over time. The report is being use d in a variety of ways, including contributions to planning decisions (for onshore and offshore development proposals), the management of coastal conservation and cultural sites, and shoreline management.