Landscape & Seascape Character
An understanding of landscape and seascape character underpins the approach to planning and management within the Dorset AONB, ensuring that all decisions affecting the designation conserve and enhance the special qualities of its outstanding landscapes and seascapes, now and for the future.
Landscape and seascape character assessments have been completed for Dorset, these documents provide a framework to guide planning and management decisions based on an understanding of:
- The qualities and features that make the landscape/seascape special
- How these features combine in different ways in different places to give each area its own unique character
- The strength and condition of these features and how they are changing
The map below illustrates the landscape character areas across Dorset, and the seascape character areas that extend as far as the international boundary with France.
Dorset Coast Seascape Character Assessment
The seascape character areas adjoining the AONB coastline are identified and described within "The Dorset Coast Landscape & Seascape Character Assessment" published in September 2010 and prepared by LDA Design to inform the C-Scope Project (Combining Sea and Coastal Planning in Europe). More information about this project, and the full version of the seascape character assessment, is available to download at www.dorsetforyou.com.
The character and quality of the land and sea interface is an important aspect of the AONB, however the coastline is constantly changing, subject to powerful coastal and hydrological processes. The Dorset Coast Landscape and Seascape Assessment is a valuable tool, promoting an integrated approach to decision making in this transitional area. The assessment reflects the terrestrial landscape character types identified in Conserving Character, plus it identifies 11 seascape character types covering the coastline and marine areas. Click on the maps below to see larger versions of the marine and coastal areas maps.
It is important to identify and recognise the landscape and seascape character types/areas that lie outside the AONB boundary as they contribute to the setting of the AONB.
Dorset AONB Landscape Character Assessment
The landscape character areas within the AONB are identified and described within “Conserving Character Landscape Character Assessment & Management Guidance for the Dorset AONB," produced by the AONB team and published in 2008.
The Dorset AONB landscape character assessment identifies 14 landscape types, such as open chalk downland, clay vales, limestone hills and rolling wooded pasture. These landscape types share common combinations of geology, topography, vegetation and human influence but are not specific to a particular location. The landscape character assessment breaks these landscape types into individual and unique geographical areas called landscape character areas, such as the Upper Piddle Valley or Marshwood Vale. The assessment identifies 34 landscape character areas in the AONB. Click on the map below to see a larger version.
Click on the links below to view the Dorset AONB Landscape Character Assessment "Conserving Character"
South Dorset Downs
North Dorset Escarpment
South Dorset Escarpment
West Dorset Escarpment
Upper North Winterborne Valley
Upper Milborne Valley
Upper Piddle Valley
Cerne & Sydling Valley
Upper Frome Valley
8. Clay Valley
South Purbeck Heaths
10. Valley Pasture
Frome Valley Pasture
Stour Valley Pasture
12. Ridge & Vale
South Dorset Ridge & Vale
Osmington Ridge & Vale
Lulworth Wooded Pasture
Rempstone Wooded Pasture
15. Clay Vale
16. Wooded Hills
Axe Valley Hills
17. Limestone Hills