9. ROLLING OPEN FARMLAND 9. ROLLING OPEN FARMLAND Long views over large areas of regular, geometric, arable Sheep graze the pastures close to the course of rivers. A Large Scots pine shelterbelts form strong linear points of fields. field margin is flanked by remnant Scot’s pine hedgerow. focus in the landscape. Clipped hawthorn hedges and hedgerow trees are Pylons and posts carrying overhead wires are frequently in The linear settlement of North Creake typifies the use of repeated across the landscape. view. red brick, flint and render. 9. ROLLING OPEN FARMLAND Location and Boundaries The landscape type defined as Rolling Open Farmland occurs within the north of the study area, largely falling inside the administrative boundary of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk District. The Rolling Open farmland gives way to landscape type 10: Plateau Farmland, predominantly occurring above the 60m contour which marks the transition to this flatter and more elevated landscape. The Rolling Open Farmland is bound along its northern edge by landscape type 3: Coastal Slopes, to the west by type 6: Wooded Slopes with Estate Land, to the south east by type 11: Settled Tributary Farmland and to the south west by landscape type 7: Farmland with Woodland and Wetland. Key Characteristics • A medium to large scale landscape with an overriding sense of openness, wide open skies, medium to large field units, and the presence of large features such as linear Scots pine shelterbelts. • Shallow river valleys and dry tributary valleys cut through the Middle and Upper Chalk geology to give rise to a gently rolling landform. • Dominated by intensive arable crop production contained within a network of regular shaped fields that form a strong geometric landscape pattern. • Dramatic linear shelterbelts of Scots pine are visible from long range - looming over the horizontal plane and forming distinct focal points. • Hawthorn hedgerows demarcate field boundaries and align rural roads. These exaggerate the strong landscape lines and provide focussed channelled views. Hedgerow trees, predominantly oak and beech, are often clothed in ivy. • Dispersed low density settlement comprising isolated farmsteads, rural hamlets and villages. The latter generally occur at road crossings and take a linear or bilinear form. They generally appear contained rather than sprawling due to their small size and scale. Churches are a key symbolic feature of settlements although sometimes detached from the main settlement hub. • A prominent skyline, often uninterrupted and smooth - the strong horizon line giving way to wide open skies. The skyline is also characterised in places by the silhouettes of Scots pine shelterbelts, hedgerow trees and the presence of pylons, posts and communication masts. • Churches associated with settlements are often located on discrete knolls, their towers and spires acting as distinct focal points. Windmills similarly act as points of focus, and are interesting landmark features. There are two water towers on the edge of Hunstanton at Redgate Hill. Settlements are generally discrete. • Although there is an overriding sense of openness, views into other landscape types are restricted due to the rolling landform and the elevated plateaux which often limit views. • The network of rural roads and lanes is the most obvious source of movement (these are often very straight and flanked by wide grass verges) but overall movement is minimal and the landscape feels very still. • Due to its largely unsettled character and extensive areas of undeveloped land, the landscape often feels remote and peaceful. Breckland and King’s Lynn & West Norfolk 99 Land Use Consultants Wind Turbine Development - Landscape Assessment, Evaluation and Guidance August 2003 Final Report become partially sunken, moving into the shallow river valleys. Landscape Character Where hedges are broken or gappy views become both The Rolling Open Farmland landscape type is a transitional landscape intermittent and distant. occurring between the more elevated Plateau Farmland and the slopes, both north and east, leading to the coast. Past and present The hedges are often flanked or interspersed by hedgerow trees – hydrological processes have cut river valleys (both wet and dry) typically oak or beech clothed in ivy. These are strong vertical through the underlying solid geology of Middle and Upper chalk. features. The solid chalk defines the surface geology of much of the western half of the landscape but further east, drift deposits dominate. This Large linear shelterbelts of Scots Pine (sometimes mixed with is apparent where fields have been cultivated and the soil is beech) are the most dramatic landscape features – bringing strong peppered with gravels. Drift deposits are also associated with the vertical contrast. Their looming presence also appears to increase River Valleys – the Rivers Burn and Heacham for example are the scale of the landscape. Windmills, church towers and spires defined by linear strips of sand and gravel, silty clays and shell marl. are also important focal points. Other vertical elements are pylons, communication masts and posts carrying overhead wires The elevation of this landscape roughly ranges between 20m AOD and two water towers on the edge of Hunstanton at Redgate Hill. and 60m AOD although there are areas that exceed this range. These somewhat disrupt the distinct land cover patterning by The 60m contour line often marks the transition to the adjacent slicing diagonally across field units. landscape type defined as Plateau Farmland. The change to this landscape type is subtle but there is a heightened sense of Some areas of pasture also occur, generally grazed by sheep. elevation, and the landform becomes flatter. Views into the Pasture is increasingly common close to the river valleys and on plateaux landscape are in general restricted to the plateaux edge. the edges of settlements but is not an overt characteristic of the landscape. Pig farming is more common with sizeable fields units Intensive arable production is the dominant land use and the given over to free range rearing. landscape is characterised by continuous tracts of medium to large geometric field units. The open, arable fields are interrupted by Enclosure of the landscape varies from semi-enclosed to open the repetition of a number of key landscape features. Hawthorn changing with localised variations in landform and with the hedgerows for example, of varying heights, condition and density, presence/absence of vertical elements. The pace of the landscape define the majority of field margins. Often cut into tall and narrow is generally slow and combined with the simple land cover evokes blocks, these hedgerows exaggerate the strong geometric field a tranquil character. There is an overriding sense of unity due to pattern. The hedges also impart a distinct sense of enclosure the simplicity of the land use and the regular and consistent particularly along the often straight rural roads where views occurrence of key elements such as the hawthorn hedgerows, become channelled. This is particularly evident where lanes Scots pine shelterbelts and remnant Scots pine hedges. Breckland and King’s Lynn & West Norfolk 100 Land Use Consultants Wind Turbine Development - Landscape Assessment, Evaluation and Guidance August 2003 Final Report The River Nar SSSI is located in the south of the landscape – its varied physical features and the influence of an underlying chalk geology give rise to rich and diverse flora. This landscape is sparsely settled comprising isolated farmsteads, hamlets and villages (usually of a linear/bilinear form) some with village greens. Red brick, cobbles and render are the most common building materials. Breckland and King’s Lynn & West Norfolk 101 Land Use Consultants Wind Turbine Development - Landscape Assessment, Evaluation and Guidance August 2003 Final Report Sensitivity to Wind Turbine Development The following table considers the key characteristics of the landscape type (taken from ‘Key Characteristics’ section of this chapter). The sensitivity of each characteristic of the landscape has been considered (independently) in relation to the four different scales of turbine development – single, small, medium and large scale. Considering each element in its own right, allows a comprehensive assessment and provides a holistic understanding of the landscape’s capacity to accommodate each of the different turbine forms. It is the combination of key characteristics that should be considered in forming a judgement about capacity for wind energy development. The guidance contained in any single row of the table, should therefore not be considered in isolation. Small Scale Medium Scale Large Scale Key Characteristics of the landscape Single Turbine Group Group Group Scale and Enclosure Low Low Low Low A medium to large scale landscape with an overriding sense of A single turbine would A small scale turbine A medium sized As with a medium openness, wide open skies, medium to large field units, and the not dominate as it development would not development would be scale development, a presence of large features such as linear Scots pine shelterbelts. would only occupy a intimidate the landscape in balance with the large development The landscape becomes increasingly enclosed where there is localised small amount of the scale – occupying only a overall medium - large would be in balance landform variation, the presence of hedgerows, shelterbelts and zone of visibility. small area of the visual scale of the landscape. with the overall hedgerow trees. zone. medium - large scale of the landscape. Landform and Topography Low Low High High Shallow river valleys and dry tributary valleys cut through the Middle The simplicity of the As with a single turbine, Landform variation is Landform variation is and Upper chalk geology to give rise to a gently rolling landform with landform means that a the simple landform subtle but a medium subtle but a large scale a general elevation range of 20m AOD to 60m AOD, single turbine would would be able to scale development development would occur as a strong accommodate a small would be hard to read be hard to read – with visual contrast to the scale development – with turbines turbines appearing to horizontal plane acting however it would be appearing to be of be of varied height as a sculptural image best suited to the same varied height due to due to the changing and corresponding contour line as crossing the changing (rolling) (rolling) landform. As with the presence of contours would make it landform. The edges with a medium scale other individual difficult to read. or extents of a large development, the vertical elements such development may not edges or extents of a as churches and always be visible and large development windmills. this could lead to visual may not always be confusion. visible and this could lead to visual Breckland and King’s Lynn & West Norfolk 102 Land Use Consultants Wind Turbine Development - Landscape Assessment, Evaluation and Guidance August 2003 Final Report Small Scale Medium Scale Large Scale Key Characteristics of the landscape Single Turbine Group Group Group confusion. Land Cover Pattern Low Low Low Low Dominated by intensive arable crop production contained within a The regularity of The many linear As with small scale The regular geometric network of regular shaped fields that form a strong geometric arable fields and the elements provide development the field pattern could landscape pattern. presence of opportunities for turbine repetition of linear accommodate the Dramatic linear shelterbelts of Scots pine are visible from long range - hedgerows provide development to elements provides formal arrangement of looming over the horizontal plane and forming distinct focal points. A strong nodes or correspond or mirror opportunities for a large scale strong geometric landscape pattern. junctions making single this arrangement. turbine development to development – Hawthorn hedgerows demarcate field boundaries and align rural turbine development correspond or mirror evoking the order and roads. These exaggerate the strong landscape lines and provide appropriate to these this strong visual repetition of intensive focussed channelled views. fixed ‘points’ in the arrangement. crop production. landscape. Settlement Low Low Moderate High Dispersed low density settlement comprising isolated farmsteads, Single turbines can be This size of turbine Settlements typically Settlements typically rural hamlets and villages. Hamlets and villages generally occur at positioned to appear group would be out of occur on higher ground occur on higher road crossings and take a linear or bilinear form. They appear attached to individual scale with the small providing extensive ground providing contained rather than sprawling due to their small size and scale. buildings - evoking a settlements. However, views out across the extensive views out Churches are a key symbolic feature of settlements although functional image. there are sufficient areas landscape. A medium across the landscape. sometimes slightly detached from the settlement itself. of land away from scale turbine A large scale turbine settlements where development is likely to development would turbine siting would not appear out of character therefore be out of impact upon settlement. with the small scale character with nature of existing settlement scale. settlement. Breckland and King’s Lynn & West Norfolk 103 Land Use Consultants Wind Turbine Development - Landscape Assessment, Evaluation and Guidance August 2003 Final Report Small Scale Medium Scale Large Scale Key Characteristics of the landscape Single Turbine Group Group Group Skyline Low Low Low Low A prominent skyline, often uninterrupted and smooth - the strong A single turbine would A small group if spaced if spaced regularly a Due to the open horizon line giving way to wide open skies. correspond with the regularly could medium scale group nature of the The skyline is also characterised in places by the silhouettes of Scots presence of existing correspond well with could correspond well landscape it would be pine shelterbelts, hedgerow trees and the presence of pylons, posts, single vertical the linear arrangement with the linear hard to judge the size communication masts and other single structures such as churches elements in the of the Scots pine arrangement of the of a large scale and windmills. landscape such as shelterbelts that are Scots pine shelterbelts. development on the churches. There is strong skyline features. There is however skyline. There is however scope for There is however scope scope for confusion of however scope for confusion of form and for confusion of form form and function due confusion of form and function due to the and function due to the to the presence of function due to the presence of pylons. presence of pylons. pylons. presence of pylons. Landmarks and Visible Built Structures Low Moderate High High Churches associated with settlements are often located on discrete Individual built A small focussed group There are no large There are no large knolls, their towers and spires acting as distinct focal points. structures such as could respond to groups of built groups of built Windmills similarly act as points of focus, and are interesting landmark churches and existing landmark structures within the structures within the features. windmills provide the features however these landscape to which a landscape to which a Dramatic linear shelterbelts of Scots pine are visible from long range - opportunity for tend to be individual medium scale large scale looming over the horizontal plane and forming distinct focal points. turbines to structures (such as development could development could Hawthorn hedgerows provide focussed channelled views along correspond with their windmills). relate. relate. straight rural roads. location and symbolic image in the landscape. Views and Connections with Adjacent Landscapes Low Low Moderate Moderate Views into this landscape can be gained from the edge of the Plateau Adjacent landscapes Adjacent landscapes Some of the adjacent Some of the adjacent Farmland landscape type. The plateau edge forms the ‘skyline’ view have a low sensitivity have a low sensitivity to landscape types are landscapes types are from within this landscape. to this scale of this scale of turbine sensitive to this scale of sensitive to this scale Broken views into this landscape are possible from the other turbine. group. turbine group but views of turbine group but neighbouring landscape types. are limited. views limited. Breckland and King’s Lynn & West Norfolk 104 Land Use Consultants Wind Turbine Development - Landscape Assessment, Evaluation and Guidance August 2003 Final Report Small Scale Medium Scale Large Scale Key Characteristics of the landscape Single Turbine Group Group Group Remoteness and Tranquillity Low Moderate High High The largely unsettled character and extensive areas of undeveloped A single turbine A collection of turbines This number of A large turbine land, means the landscape feels predominantly remote and peaceful. development would is likely to change the turbines is more likely development is most The network of rural roads and lanes is the most obvious source of be unlikely to disturb perception of human to impact or change the likely to impact upon movement (these are often very straight and flanked by wide grass overall sense of influence in the sense of remoteness as the sense of verges) but overall movement is minimal and the landscape feels very remoteness. landscape and thus it will increase remoteness due to still. reduce the sense of awareness of human the obvious presence The sails of windmills within the landscape are a subtle movement remoteness. influence/presence in of human elements in source. the landscape. the landscape. Landscape Values The River Nar SSSI located in the south of the landscape. Breckland and King’s Lynn & West Norfolk 105 Land Use Consultants Wind Turbine Development - Landscape Assessment, Evaluation and Guidance August 2003 Final Report Capacity for Wind Turbine Development Single Turbine Capacity This landscape type has a high capacity to accommodate a single turbine development. The simple landform - gently undulating - provides open and extensive views. Single vertical elements are a feature of these open views. Village churches and lone windmills, for example, are eye catching elements making a positive contribution - adding to rather than detracting from overall character. The presence of these vertical elements increases the scope for single turbines to appear balanced in the landscape. However there is also a risk that too many vertical elements of varied form and function can lead to a visually confusing landscape scene. The occurrence of pylons and posts for example and the relationship of turbines to them would need to be considered carefully. Although there are a number of vertical elements in the landscape, there are often views which are devoid of any obvious landmarks or strong vertical elements. The introduction of a single turbine(s) can thus provide a point of focus – to draw the eye and bring positive definition or punctuation to the landscape. Single turbine development is unlikely to intimidate or dominate within the landscape due to the expansive nature of views and the overall sense of scale. However, there are some extensive remote and empty areas of this landscape, where development would be unsuitable. Guidance on Form and Siting Although simple, this landscape type has very strong land cover pattern and it is important that the location of single turbines responds and enhances this pattern rather than diluting it or bringing confusion. With regard to siting within this landscape type, it is recommended that a single turbine: • Be located on its own within this landscape evoking a sculptural image. • Mirror or compare visually with the symbolism of the freestanding churches and windmills however it should not compromise their perceived value. • Relate to individual buildings (agricultural buildings or farms for example) within the landscape can provide a functional image and enhance the point of focus. Breckland and King’s Lynn & West Norfolk 106 Land Use Consultants Wind Turbine Development - Landscape Assessment, Evaluation and Guidance August 2003 Final Report • Relate to the geometric pattern of the fields – sited for example at junctions where two or more field boundaries meet to enhance or add definition to these existing landscape nodes. • Connect or link to linear elements so that they appear as a continuation of these edge or boundary features - a hedgerow or Scots pine shelterbelt for example. • Form a focal point at the end of channelled views such as those gained from the many straight rural roads. • Avoid locations with existing vertical features that contrast in form. The siting of turbines with pylons for example can result in a confusion of elements and lead to visual clutter. • Avoid ‘empty’ remote areas of the landscape where development is entirely absent and there are few metalled roads or dwellings. Cumulative Development There is scope for the landscape to accommodate a number of single turbines but their location and relationship is of paramount importance to ensure they respond to one another as well as to overall landscape character. Single turbines within this landscape type will act as points of focus. However, where more than one turbine falls within the same view, the role as a point of focus or landmark can be diluted. The pattern of landscape elements should act as a clear, visible framework to which a consistent and coherent approach to the siting and spacing of single turbines is applied so that where they do occur within the same view they appear ordered, are clearly understood in the landscape and contribute positively to overall character. Small Scale Group Capacity This landscape type has a high capacity to accommodate small scale turbine development. Although more obvious than a single turbine, the open character of the landscape means that a small scale group of turbines would not dominate views and could thus respond well to the landscape. There are a number of features within the landscape to which a small scale development could relate. In particular, the strong linear arrangement of elements that lends itself to inform the potential siting and arrangement of a small scale group. The presence of shelterbelts, straight rural roads and strong hedgerow network provide visual cues to infer turbine design arrangement. Breckland and King’s Lynn & West Norfolk 107 Land Use Consultants Wind Turbine Development - Landscape Assessment, Evaluation and Guidance August 2003 Final Report The simple visual composition of the different landscape characteristics must be recognised in order to ensure a small group is integrated into the landscape in the most appropriate way by connecting strong vertical character with the horizontal plane. Guidance on Form and Siting With regard to the siting and form, a small scale group could: • Relate to a single line or repetitive linear arrangement to complement and respond to the existing linear pattern defining the landscape i.e. Scots pine shelterbelt, straight rural roads and hawthorn hedgerow network. • Be located along contour lines as opposed to across them. The latter can result in varied turbine height due to the change in relief and this can reduce readability. • Mirror the simplicity and regularity of the land cover pattern by regularly spacing turbines – consistent and repetitive spacing will make a development more coherent and aid its integration with the horizontal plane. • Avoid ‘empty’ remote areas of the landscape where development is entirely absent and there are few metalled roads or dwellings. A grid like or cluster arrangement is less likely to read well within this landscape - the varying heights of turbines over undulating ground having the potential to confuse the simplicity of the skyline. Cumulative Development The strong land cover and land use pattern provides scope for development of more than one small scale group within this landscape. In particular the repetition of key characteristics of the landscape provide the visual cues to which linear arrangements can relate. It is essential that the type of turbine used, the spacing of the turbines and their composition is consistent. An inconsistent approach would not relate well to the simplicity and regularity of the overall landscape pattern. Medium and Large Scale Group Capacity This landscape type has a low capacity to accommodate both a medium and large scale turbine group. Breckland and King’s Lynn & West Norfolk 108 Land Use Consultants Wind Turbine Development - Landscape Assessment, Evaluation and Guidance August 2003 Final Report Although this landscape is generally large in scale, the undulating landform combined with the large area required to accommodate the number of turbines would mean that it would be difficult to perceive a medium and large group as a single element. Turbine heights would also vary with changes in relief – confusing the uncomplicated character of the existing skyline. Conclusion After consideration of the key characteristics defining the character of this landscape (individually and in combination) it is judged that the Rolling Open Farmland landscape type is most suited to single and small scale (linear) turbine development. Breckland and King’s Lynn & West Norfolk 109 Land Use Consultants Wind Turbine Development - Landscape Assessment, Evaluation and Guidance August 2003 Final Report 9. ROLLING OPEN FARMLAND A single turbine could relate to lines of Scots pine. A single turbine could compare visually with churches in the landscape, as well as relate to linear features. Turbines are evenly spaced and follow contour lines to appear consistent and coherent. A small turbine group could relate to existing linear features in the landscape.
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