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Lowland Valley Terraces

Land Management

Natural Features, Watercourses and Wetlands

  • Protect natural and artificial ponds from drainage or infilling. Restore former field ponds and create new ponds on suitable sites.


  • Establish uncultivated margins along hedgerows, woodland edges and watercourses. Avoid cultivation under the canopy of hedgerow trees.
  • Maintain and enhance semi-improved pasture and meadow by adopting appropriate stocking levels or cutting regimes and avoiding improvements such as drainage, ploughing and reseeding. Limit the use of fertilisers and herbicides.
  • Restore former meadows and restore diversity to improved pastures where possible by reseeding or the use of hay crops from local meadows as a seed source.

Moor and Heath

  • Protect and conserve lowland heath by adopting appropriate grazing or cutting regimes and controlling motorcycle scrambling, fly tipping and illegal grazing.
  • Restore former heathland or create new areas of heathland on suitable sites.

Trees, Woodlands and Forestry

  • Plant new small and medium sized broadleaved woodlands (oak on clay, oak-birch on sands and gravels) and particularly on former opencast land and close to settlement edges.
  • Increase the proportion of locally native species when restocking plantations. Plant small woodlands and tree groups to screen larger modern farm buildings, sewerage works, substations etc.
  • Protect and maintain existing hedgerow trees. Plant new field boundary trees (Ash, Common Oak) - and particularly on restored opencast land - or tag saplings to replace the maturing stock.

Cultural Features

  • Protect archaeological features including rigg and furrow from damaging activities such as cultivation, tree planting or poaching by stock.
  • Protect and conserve industrial features such as old drifts, spoil heaps and waggonways. Avoid physical damage, removal or infilling. Consolidate important structures taking archaeological advice.
  • Conserve and restore parklands, respecting designed elements and veteran trees.
  • Conserve and maintain traditional field barns and farm buildings.

Field Boundaries

  • Protect and maintain hedgerows. Renovate overgrown and gappy hedges by laying or coppicing and gapping up.
  • Allow trimmed hedges to grow higher and broader. Consider trimming every second or third year rather than annually.
  • Reinstate hedges where they have been replaced by fences - particularly in areas of older enclosure and on reclaimed or restored opencast land.


Agricultural Buildings

  • Site new farm buildings close to existing buildings where possible, and reflect their scale, character and materials.
  • Reduce the impact of larger modern buildings by careful selection of colour, breaking up mass and planting screening belts of native species.

Housing and Economic Development

  • Maintain the separation of villages and the rural character of the countryside between them in planning for new development.
  • Screen new development on settlement edges with substantial structure planting of native woodland.
  • Maintain important views of Durham Cathedral and Castle World Heritage Site

Energy, Telecommunications and Infrastructure

  • Site communications masts on buildings in urban areas where possible - or close to existing buildings, tree groups or woodland edges in the open countryside.
  • Avoid 'urban' detailing and street lighting on country roads.
  • Avoid impacts on the setting of Durham Cathedral and Castle World Heritage Site.

Minerals and Waste

  • Avoid damage to sensitive natural landforms, mature landscape features and semi-natural habitats in selecting and operating mineral sites.
  • Avoid breaching local skylines with extraction areas or storage mounds.
  • Restore sites to semi-natural oak and oak-birch woodland, lowland heath, acid and neutral grassland and wetland habitats using natural regeneration where appropriate.
  • Adopt low intervention approaches to the reclamation of former colliery and industrial land where possible to preserve the landscape's industrial heritage and 'brownfield' biodiversity.

Tourism and Recreation

  • Tourism and recreational development should be undertaken in such a way as to avoid any urbanising influence on the landscape.
  • Facilities like chalets and caravan parks should only be developed or extended where there is a high degree of year-round visual containment - either from the topography or robust woodland cover - so that they do not erode the rural character of the area.
  • Golf course development should seek to conserve and reinforce landscape character by retaining mature landscape features and planting new native woodlands and parkland trees. Avoid prominent locations for built elements like buildings, driving ranges and ball-trap fencing. Develop species rich grassland or lowland heath in roughs to increase biodiversity.
  • Equestrian facilities should be sited close to existing farm buildings where possible, and reflect their scale, character and materials. The impact of larger buildings should be reduced by careful selection of colour, breaking up mass, and planting screening belts of native woodland.

Further Information

Broad Landscape Types Guidelines