The valley pasture landscape type is found along the lower reaches of the Stour and Frome, formed form alluvial deposits. They have wide, open meandering floodplains that historically support transport routes and major developments around the fringes. A series of wet woodlands, large pastures and water meadows are typical of this landscape type.



Landscape change

  • 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 flood plains.
  • A change from wet pastures to larger arable fields has detracted from the open character of the area.
  • Only remnant water meadows survive with traditional management no longer practiced.
  • Some pastures have been drained reducing their ecological and visual interest.
  • The condition of many of the hedges along the valley floor is now declining.
  • Some of the floodplain trees are becoming over-mature and will eventually need replacing.
  • Wet woodland is now mostly restricted to small blocks of willow and alder along the immediate river banks.
  • The increasing traffic levels, particularly along the A37 and A352 have brought pressures for development and loss of tranquillity.
  • Recent residential developments on the edges of settlements have a negative visual impact on the open and undeveloped character of the floodplain.
  • 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, altering the open character of the landscape.
  • Continued development pressures around Blandford and Dorchester and increases in traffic and associated management schemes could further impact on tranquillity and loss of key features.
  • Impacts arising from equine-related activities are becoming more widespread.