|LCT10 Open Chalklands||
LCA10B King’s Somborne Chalk Downland
King’s Somborne Chalk Downland has a gently rolling and undulating landform, with dry ‘V’ shaped river valleys running down towards the tributary at King’s Somborne. A number of areas south of King’s Somborne are capped with clay and flints creating smooth soft domed hills.
It is an area of predominantly large arable fields with very few intervening hedgerows, woodlands or trees, creating large expanses of open downland. These arable fields have created a pattern which loosely radiates towards King’s Somborne. A small number of woodlands are located adjacent to the settlements and farmsteads, where they provide shelter and enclosure. Other woodlands are found adjacent to the Test Valley, where they are linear in form, marking the edge of the flood plain and the transition to the Test Valley floor.
The parkland to Little Somborne House is located on the edge of this character area and brings diversity with an area of grassland and trees, in contrast with the homogeneous arable landscape.
King’s Somborne Chalk Downland surrounds the King’s Somborne valley to its the north, east and south. The northern and southern boundaries are defined by the transition to the more wooded and complex landscape to the north of Little Somborne and south of Ashley and Compton. The western boundary runs adjacent to the flood plain of the Test Valley.
Local Physical Influences
Geology and soils: Upper Chalk with Valley Gravels on upper winterborne reaches on the King’s Somborne River.
Landform: Gently undulating ground, lower than is typical of the Open Chalklands.
Drainage: A well drained area, draining into the River Test and King’s Somborne valley.
Local Biodiversity and Vegetation Pattern
In addition to the main vegetation types there is an area of habitat rich residential land and gardens at Up Somborne.
Local Historical Influences
19th century Parliamentary field systems are to be found throughout this area surrounding King’s Somborne. An area of prairie fields indicating some 20th century field rationalization is present within the south of this area close to Compton Manor and parkland.
A Roman Road extends through this area but only remains fossilized within the occasional field boundary and part of a surviving lane.
Little Somborne, Up Somborne and Ashley are the only formal settlements within this character area. These three settlements are focused along a main road but have minimal historic settlement cores with the majority of settlement development dating to the 19th century. The settlements of Ashley and Up Sombourne are both chalk downland settlement types while Little Somborne appears to have been influenced in the more recent past by its proximity to the small estate at Little Somborne House. At Ashley the remains of a small castle remain with a historic core located upon the road which leads up to this defensive structure.
The farmsteads within this predominantly 19th century parliamentary field landscape are generally well dispersed and are located upon the roads. The road network throughout this area is extremely straight suggesting that the routes were laid out or at least earlier routes were formalized through survey at the time of the parliamentary enclosure.
The principal routes appear to have largely survived this resurveying and tend to follow contours (as between Stockbridge and King’s Somborne or the route connecting all three of the Somborne villages).
Local Settlements and Features of Built Form
Ashley Chalk Downland Hilltop Settlement Type
Little Sombourne: Estate Village SettlementType
Up Sombourne: Chalk Downland. Dry Valley Settlement Type
Traditional building styles include brick and brick with flint walls with clay tiled roofs.
Hedgerow loss, as at How Park, is an issue but some residents felt that the area had never had an extensive network of hedgerows. Neglected plots of land are a problem in and around King’s Somborne, along with fly tipping. There was some concern about the commercial shooting interests at Compton Manor but many felt that this activity had led to better management of the woodlands.
Remoteness and Tranquillity
The A3057 runs through King’s Somborne. This is a busy road and affects tranquillity levels on either side.
Large areas of arable farmland, within undeveloped dry valleys and across open ridges, will offer a degree of remoteness and tranquillity.
Typical chalk downland dominated by arable farming
A small number of pasture fields are limited to the edges of settlements and adjacent farmsteads
Gently undulating landform with dry V shaped valleys and smooth ridges
A number of smooth domed hills, resulting from the underlying geology of Clay and Flints
Poor hedgerow structure
Isolated small woodlands
Woodland and trees are also limited to the transition zone to the adjacent more complex wooded landscape character types
Largely a landscape dominated by 19th century parliamentary enclosure
Little Somborne House and its habitat rich parkland
Dispersed farmsteads associated with wide straight roads.
Neglected parcels of land.
Compton House and Park Listed Barn and Folly of Compton Manor.
9 SINCs including agriculturally unimproved grassland and ancient semi-natural woodland