Skip to main content
You are here
Landscape Character Types
Valley Settled Farmlands
Settled, often busy landscapes which occur along the sides of the sinuous valley corridors that cut through the East Anglian clay plateau.
Occurs within a broad diagonal sweep extending from Chelmsford (Essex) in the south to Fakenham (Norfolk) in the north.
Gently sloping valleys cut through glacial till, often with deposits of sand and gravel in the valley bottoms.
Natural / water features:
The upper reaches of most of the river valleys draining the clay plateau occur within this landscape.
Vegetation and land use
Although it has a long farming history, this is a landscape with substantial and ancient hedges surrounding its predominantly arable fields, along with wet meadows in valley bottoms and patches of ancient woodland on upper valley slopes.
Primary land use :
Mainly arable land, with peri-urban areas that have a more mixed landuse, including some recreational/equestrian use.
Hedgerow trees have a strong visual impact in this landscape, associated with the localised influence of landscaped parks (eg Helmingham). Woodland is mainly limited to the upper parts of the valley sides.
Many towns and villages with distinctive medieval cores and late mediaeval churches. There are also many moated farmsteads of medieval date within this landscape.
Small to medium scale landscape, sometimes with a complex enclosure pattern. Field pattern is commonly sinuous and sub-regular.
Clustered pattern of farmsteads and hamlets, with some larger market towns. Many of these settlements have experienced significant late 20th century growth. Main roads usually run along valley bottoms, while sunken lanes occur on valley sides.
Vernacular houses are typically timber-framed (usually plastered and painted) and often interspersed with red-brick houses. Timber-clad and tarred barns, with tiled (plain or pan tiles), or thatched roofs are also a feature in this landscape.
Historic development :
Field shapes are generally organic in character, with substantial and long-established hedges. There are some patches of co-axial fields in the Waveney valley area. Narrow, riverine meadows are a feature on the upper valley floors.
Away from the busy valley settlements, this is often a tranquil and rural landscape.
The nature of this landscape, with its strong hedgerow networks and linear valleys, gives rise to a varied visual experience characterised by a mixture of longer distance views and more intimate, semi-enclosed scenes.