|LCT10 Open Chalklands||
LCA10F Andover Chalk Downland
Andover Chalk Downland is a gently undulating and rolling area of chalk downland, with small hills located to the east eg. Tinker’s Hill, and sloping down to the west with a series of dry valleys towards the River Anton and Test Valley.
It features open areas of arable land, separated by areas of settlement, infrastructure and large farms creating a fragmented character area of Downland. A number of isolated woodlands are seen within the open arable areas, often demarcating old disused pits. Other small woodlands are located on non-productive land as seen around the A303 (T) and also on the small scarp face at Wallis Bottom. Shelter belts or thick hedgerows are also a feature, with a high density found towards the south, linking and providing areas of enclosure between the wooded landscape type to the north and the river valley to the south.
Urban fringe recreation activities exist with the golf course east of Goodworth Clatford and Finkley Down Farm Park to the north of the railway line. Other urban fringe landuses include pylons and the sewage works.
Ribbon development along the radiating roads out of Andover has caused urbanization of this area of Downland, as seen along the B3400. Two golf courses are present within this area close by Goodworth Clatford and on the southern edge of Andover.
The western edge of Andover Chalk Downland is defined by the built up edge of Andover and the River Anton valley. The northern edge runs from East Anton, south of Smannell and Ridges Copse. The eastern boundary follows the Borough boundary, with the southern boundary bordering the northern edge of Harewood Forest.
Local Physical Influences
Geology and soils: Upper Chalk with two small areas of Valley Gravels running into Andover.
Landform: Gentle undulating landform with higher ground at Andover Down. Southern area falls more steeply to the Lower River Anton.
Drainage: A well drained area, draining into the River Anton.
Local Biodiversity and Vegetation Pattern
The character area is typical of the character type.
Local Historical Influences
The majority of this landscape has been enclosed by acts of parliament during the later 18th and 19th centuries which has produced a characteristic regularity within the landscape with large open fields, straight field boundaries and trackways.
A small element of pre-1810 Harewood Forest extends northward into this area close to Andover Farm. A small portion of downland to the east of Romsey Road is to be found at the southern limit of this area overlooking the valley of the river Anton.
Two Roman Roads extend through this area; the Portway (aligned north east - south west) and the Icknield Way (aligned north west – south east). The Icknield Way does not appear to appreciably survive as either earthworks, road alignments or within field boundaries although it does form the north eastern boundary to some modern development at Andover. The Portway survives in field boundaries to the south west of East Anton and within the line of Finkley Road.
The only settlement with an appreciable historic core straddles the banks of the River Anton. This settlement is Goodworth Clatford and is focused upon an historic crossing point over the river with the majority of settlement development on the western bank. The church and historic core within Andover Chalk Downland is smaller and has only relatively limited 19th and 20th century development.
Several modern settlements are present within this area (Picket Piece and Andover Down) and these are clearly associated with settlement drift away from Andover and to the east. Picket Piece is unusual and is not typical of a settlement within the downlands evolving from ribbon style development, with properties having extensive gardens behind. The settlement of Andover Down, is also the result of ribbon style development, with intermittent clusters of housing and buildings grouped along the London Road, again providing a rather sprawling character.
The farmsteads within this character area are well spaced outlying with a network of large, open and straight-sided fields.
The more major medieval roads largely linking principal settlements such as Winchester Road and Romsey Road continued to follow the contours along the valley floor of the river Anton. Roads within this LCA radiate towards Andover, traversing the lie of the land. The major roads are the A303(T) and the A3093, with its junction forming a major feature within this generally open landscape.
Local Settlements and Features of Built Form
Picket Piece: Chalk Downland. Dry Valley Settlement Type.
Andover Down Chalk Downland. Dry Valley Settlement Type.
Traditional building styles include brick and brick with flint walls with clay tiled roofs.
The main concern in this area is the expansion of Andover. There is also concern that the fields are becoming larger and more open, with the loss and damage to hedgerows and extensive areas of one crop. There are comments that the farmland around Andover is becoming disused and derelict or poorly maintained, farms and farm cottages are becoming rundown and are being reused for general housing, and barns are being converted as a result of the change in farming needs.
The village of Wherwell, a small part of which lies within LCA10F, is a popular attraction and is considered particularly scenic.
Remoteness and Tranquillity
The impact of suburban elements has resulted in the loss of remoteness and tranquillity. Further more the open nature of this landscape, further extends the negative impact of urban fringe land uses.
Fragmented area of chalk downland
Small woodlands conceal old disused pits
Settlements resulting from ribbon development at Andover Down and Picket Piece
Urban fringe activities are visible within this open area of downland
Largely a landscape dominated by 19th century parliamentary enclosure
Two Roman Roads, the Ickneild Way and Portway extend through this area
Local Natural and Cultural LandscapeIssues
Expansion of Andover
Numerous lines of communication across the landscape (roads, railway line, pylons)
Poorly managed and maintained farmland
Erosion and further fragmentation of the landscape structure.
North Wessex Downs AONB: Small area east of Smannell
12 SINCs, mostly agriculturally unimproved grassland, some ancient semi-natural woodland and a site supporting notable species