The ridge and vale landscape type covers two character areas to the east and west of Weymouth. Backed by the South Dorset Escarpment, these types are characterised by low lying limestone ridges running east to west, with undulating clay vales of mixed farming and nucleated villages. The open coastal character of Weymouth Bay was captured in a famous painting by John Constable.



Landscape change

  • There will be continued pressure for urban and tourism-based development due to limited land supply in Weymouth.
  • Modern residential and tourist-based developments in open locations, often toward the coast, have already altered the historical distribution of development, characterised as a pattern of tight knit settlements.
  • A host of urban fringe land use around Weymouth has weakened the undeveloped character. The character type is affected by encroachment of urban housing and by visual impact from development in the setting, such as powerlines and holiday parks.
  • Historical conversion from pastoral grasslands to an arable land use on the valley sides and floors has been one of the most significant changes affecting the landscape, with the loss of field boundaries and geometric form detracting from the textured grassland character.
  • Policy driven farming changes over the last seventy years have resulted in concentration of stock levels. There has been a decline in the availability of livestock to graze relatively inaccessible land of high environmental value such as the steeper ridges.
  • The condition of many of the hedges and stone walls has declined in past particularly towards the coast and urban fringe.
  • Woodland management and replanting have been neglected in the past.
  • The increasing traffic levels and a host of urban fringe developments have brought pressures for upgraded infrastructure and signage.
  • Traditional agricultural areas are looking to diversify, 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 the growth of biomass crops.
  • Impacts arising from equine-related activities are becoming more widespread.