The sweeping landscapes of the Kimmeridge Coast, Corfe, and Bride valleys each have its own unique identity. Enclosed by surrounding escarpments and ridges, they generally have a settled rural character with coastal influences. A patchwork of rolling pastures, scattered woodlands have been shaped by centuries of woodland clearance and agricultural improvement. Regular dense hedgerows with small farmsteads and nucleated villages are dotted throughout the landscape.



Landscape change

  • Some historical loss of damp pastures and medieval field patterns as a result of intensive arable agricultural practices has been one of the most significant changes to the area. The large arable fields with geometric boundaries detract from the textured pastoral character.
  • Policy driven farming changes over the last seventy years have resulted in concentration of stock levels. This has limited the availability of livestock to graze land of low agricultural, but high environmental value such as wet meadows.
  • The condition of some of hedges has declined resulting in gaps and replacement with post and wire.
  • Woodland management and replanting has been neglected in the past.
  • Some recent residential, tourist and industrial developments have weakened the rural character and condition of the landscape with adverse visual impact.
  • Agriculture is becoming more market driven with intensification of production and farm diversification. This may result in short term changes in agricultural patterns in the landscape with diversification into other crops such as biomass crops, shooting and provision of tourism accommodation, altering the sense of enclosure in the valley bottoms.
  • There will be continued urban and tourism-based development pressures in relation to fringes of existing settlements with increases in traffic levels towards the coast. This may increase the proliferation of signage and traffic calming schemes.
  • Continued pressure for wind farms and communication structures on surrounding ridgelines could further affect important open skylines.
  • Small scale development pressures on the edges of villages may affect their rural character through intrusion into open countryside.
  • Impacts arising from equine-related activities are becoming more widespread.