|LCT3 Mixed Farmland and Woodland - Medium Scale||
LCA3C Tytherley and Mottisfont Wooded Farmland
Tytherley and Mottisfont Wooded Farmland is a well wooded landscape consisting of natural and plantation woodlands interspersed with medium size arable and pasture fields. Individual trees and well-treed hedgerows are a feature of this character area. The designed grounds/parkland of Mottisfont and Lockerley Hall have a strong influence on this landscape, with their post-1810 designed parkland features.
Tytherley and Mottisfont Wooded Farmland lies north of the River Dun, and extends from Mottisfont and the River Test Valley in the east, to the Borough boundary in the west. Its northern boundary runs from north of Tytherley Common, eastwards to Pittleworth Farm.
Local Physical Influences
Geology and Soils: The underlying geology is Reading Beds, overlain with an inlier of London Clay. This has a strong influence on the extensive woodland cover and the high proportion of oak trees within the hedgerows.
Landform: The landform is undulating with a gentle fall south-east to the River Dun.
Drainage: The area drains into the River Dun, via a number of small streams. Small ponds and lakes are a feature of the area.
Local Biodiversity and Vegetation Pattern
Tytherley and Mottisfont Wooded Farmland is predominantly improved pasture and arable farmland, divided by hedgerows. Several areas of broadleaved woodland are found in this area. Oak is the most common tree species, with abundant Birch. Ash is uncommon and Field Maple is rare. Sweet chestnut is also locally abundant and has often been planted as coppice. Other trees found in low frequencies include Holly, Whitebeam, Beech, Geum, and Rowan. Damper soils have Alder and Poplar. The shrub layers usually have abundant Hazel and Hawthorn. Ground flora includes Bluebell, Wood Anemone, Red Campion, Honeysuckle, Bramble, Woodruff, Wood Sorrel, Dog Violet, Wood Spurge, Twayblade and Greater Stitchwort. Typical orchids include Lesser Butterfly Orchid, Early Purple Orchid, Narrow-leaved Helleborine.
Occasional areas of important mesotrophic grasslands are found in this area. They are dominated by fine-leaved grasses such as Red Fescue, Crested Dogs-tail and Velvet Bent. Coarser grasses such as Cocksfoot and Yorkshire Fog are not so frequent. There is a variety of flowering plants that in some cases can comprise a substantial proportion of the herbage. This include White Clover, Red Clover, Birds-foot Trefoil, Knapweed, Bulbous Buttercup, Yarrow, Yellow Rattle, Selfheal and Oxeye Daisy. Typical orchids include Bee Orchid, Common Spotted Orchid, Pyramidal Orchid, and Early Purple Orchid.
Other notable habitats include occasional patches of lowland heath dominated by heather, together with mosaics of acid grassland, patchy woodland and scrub. Some of the valleys have wet areas. Ancient and semi-natural woodlands link with hedgerows and provide an important resource.
Local Historical Influences
Several areas of formal parkland and deer park are present within Tytherley and Mottisfont Wooded Farmland including Motttisfont Abbey and Lockerley Hall Park, a deer park. In the case of Lockerley Hall Park, extensive replanting of pre-1810 woodland both within and along its formal park borders may indicate landscape design on a truly massive scale. A considerable length of park pale survives associated with the deer park and fishponds north of Holbury Wood. This may suggest the presence of a now vanished or incorporated monastic grange associated with Mottisfont Abbey to the east.
One factor which may have had a significant influence in the past was the Benedictine Abbey of Mottisfont Abbey (later to become a stately home and now owned and run by the National Trust). Monastic orders exercised great power in the landscape and are known to have embarked upon extensive infrastructure projects to improve their numerous land holdings. Little survives today to suggest active land management by the Benedictine order at Mottisfont although we do know that in general they were not as a great as the Cistercian order at managing the landscape. It may be that the monastery was instead located close to a good supply of water but essentially within a forested environment as an aid to contemplation and only affected its hinterland in small and relatively undetectable ways.
These parkland environments lie within a largely assarted historic landscape which extended south to the valley of the River Dun on the southern boundary of this area. A band of regular fields with wavy boundaries indicating informal enclosure of the 17th and 18th century extends north and south of Mottisfont along the first terrace of the River Test. There is only limited parliamentary field enclosure within this area associated with one or two farms along its western borders and down by Mottisfont on the River Test.
Formal settlement activity tends to be focused along the borders of this Landscape Character Area with East Tytherley to the north and Mottisfont at the southeastern corner. Mottisfont is an anomalous settlement which has developed around a stately home (derived from a 13th century Benedictine monastery) and which corresponds with the Estate Village Settlement Type. This comprises a medieval church (possibly a chapel for the nearby monastery) and a series of some 18th but largely 19th century buildings which were developed to service the main house.
East Tytherley has minimal 19th and 20th century settlement activity with an earlier medieval manorial farm close by. This settlement has a largely nucleated historic core which has witnessed only a small amount of post-medieval village development along major roads.
Settlement form, pattern and character vary from the nucleated village of East Tytherley to the linear villages of Frenchmore, which is strung out for nearly a mile along its road. Originally nucleated in form, post 1811 development has caused its existing linear form with housing evolving along the north and south approach roads.
Farmsteads close to Mottisfont are well spaced with no farms within the wooded settings of Spearywell Wood and Dummer Copse. To the west, the large irregular assarts and parliamentary enclosures within the parish of Frenchmoor are accompanied by well-dispersed farmsteads which appear to sit within considerable territories.
Roads generally align in a north south direction.
Local Settlements and Features of Built Form
East Tytherley: Chalk-Clay Spring Line Settlement Type
Frenchmoor: Clay Lowland Settlement Type
Mottisfont: Estate Village Settlement Type
Traditional styles of built form include brick walls with clay tile roofs.
There is a good general awareness and pride in the history of this area with particular reference to Mottisfont which is also noted for its attractive walks. However, as Mottisfont is a popular visitor attraction, residents feel that the local beauty and quiet is being seriously eroded. The landscape east of East Tytherley is noted as being particularly secluded.
Remoteness and Tranquillity
The strong sense of enclosure and heavily wooded character has created a good sense of seclusion with areas of tranquillity away from popular areas such as Mottisfont.
Gentle undulating landform
The inlier of London Clay
Formal and deer parklands
Large commercial and native woodlands
Well dispersed farmsteads with settlements on the margins of the character area
Linear and nucleated development
North-south road pattern
Large areas of tranquility
Monastic presence at Mottisfont on the banks of the River Test although this appears to have had relatively little impact upon what must have been a largely forested environment
Presence of several well managed parkland environments both within their borders and in their immediate hinterland with extensive replanting of pre-1810 woodland
Large regular assarting along the southern borders of this character area
17th and 18th century informal enclosure along the banks of the River Test and later parliamentary enclosure during the 19th century along the western border of this character area.
Local Natural and Cultural Landscape Issues
Potential redefinition or redevelopment of any of the historic parkland environments which have played such an important role in the development of this historic landscape
Protection of sense of remoteness and local history
Intrusion from overhead power lines.
Lockerley Hall Grade II* Listed Building
Mottisfont Bats - Group of woodlands including semi-natural broadleaved woodland, coniferous and mixed plantations and small patches of unimproved grassland
Bentley Wood (<10% of SSSI) - Coniferous and mixed plantations, semi-natural broadleaved woodland and unimproved grassland
39 SINCs, including ancient semi-natural woodlands, other woodlands and agriculturally unimproved grasslands