England's landscape is one of the jewels of our national heritage. Each landscape has a distinctive character, in large measure determined by its inherited features such as streets, hedges, archaeological sites, buildings or place names. Understanding this character is the first step in working out how places can be made better in the future. The character of the landscape can be easily overlooked when concentrating on individual buildings or archaeological monuments. Historic landscape character therefore focuses on aspects of the landscape that have not always been regarded as archaeological. It includes components of the landscape that are ‘natural’ but nevertheless the product of centuries of human action, such as hedgerows, woodland, ponds and modified watercourses. It also takes account of more intangible matters reflected in the landscape’s physical structure: time-depth, and patterns such as settlement, land-use and the mixture of enclosed and non-enclosed land, arable and grazing, woodland and parkland.