The undulating river valleys of the Brit and Axe are centred on the floodplains and surrounding branching valleys and undulating hills. They have a diverse character ranging from open countryside to market towns and villages dotted along the upper terraces. Characteristic features include damp pastures, linear wet woodlands along the valley floor with small broadleaved woodlands dotted around the surrounding hills.



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 from conversion to larger 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.
  • Modern residential and tourist developments in more open locations towards the coast and on the fringes of settlements, threaten to weaken the pattern of tight knit villages.
  • There is a trend toward converting traditional farm buildings into holiday lets.
  • There has been a change of character along rural lanes due to road engineering, particularly concrete kerbing and signage towards the coast.
  • There is also likely to be further pressure for new built development on the fringes of larger settlements, along the main roads as well as redevelopment of agricultural buildings to residential, amenity or industrial use.
  • 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.
  • There will be continued urban and tourism-based development pressures in relation to fringes of existing settlements with increases in traffic levels along the coast. This may increase the proliferation of signage and traffic calming schemes.