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Landscape Character Assessment

The unique natural beauty of an area can be described in a Landscape Character Assessment, which is then used to inform other planning policies.

Landscape Character Assessment is a process to identify and understand the things that give character to the landscape.

Understanding the character of an area is the vital first step in making almost any landscape-related decision, whether it is for a village street or an entire region.

It makes sense: you survey what you have before proposing any change.

Landscape Character Assessment in practice

There are several things you can do to get involved with Landscape Character Assessment:

Find out more about landscape character

Get a feel for landscape character by reading CPRE's publications on Landscape Character Assessment and the Countryside Agency's landscape character assessment guidance.

Find out what has been done so far by groups in your area, including your local authority.

Create a landscape character archive

Build up a visual archive of hand-drafted maps and surveys, annotated sketches and hand-drawn pictures. Include photographs of landscape features at different times of the year.

Organise a written archive with descriptions and historic references to the landscape.

Promote landscape character

Organise events that bring people together to show the importance of landscape character

  • Share ideas about what particular features define the character of different landscapes.
  • Find out from people future changes that might take place and how they may affect the landscape.
  • Use questionnaires and oral histories to find out people's views and memories on the character of their area
  • Map the location of ponds, barns, stiles or standing stones to help convey the significance of their presence in the landscape

Use surveys to gather information

Do a site survey to look at one issue, such as the flora of an area, or a selection of issues.