Although found elsewhere around the northern part of the county, the only limestone hills type within the National Landscape is found at Melbury Park. Much of the area is dominated by the designed parkland at Melbury with its distinctive, sweeping parkland landscape. Elsewhere, a series of low, rounded limestone hills with dense wooded sides contrast with the broad clay valleys composed of pasture and arable fields, with winding lanes and springs.



Landscape change

  • In the past some hedgerows have been lost either through field enlargement or through lack of management.
  • Rough pasture and wet meadows on the valley floor have been lost as a result of the conversion of fields of arable use.
  • Policy driven farming changes over the last seventy years has resulted in the concentration of stock levels, limiting the availability of livestock to graze land of low agricultural value such as rough pastures. In places, this has resulted in low grazing pressure and increased scrub encroachment.
  • Agriculture becoming more market driven with intensification of production and farm diversification. Traditional agricultural areas are likely to diversity, resulting in the conversion of agricultural buildings to residential or industrial uses and the establishment of secondary enterprises. This may include establishment of commercial shoots or growth of novel crops such as biomass crops.
  • Modern residential and rural diversification developments in more open locations threaten to weaken the pattern of tight knit villages.
  • Future small-scale development pressures on the edges of existing villages may increases traffic levels and signage with a loss of rural character.