|LCT5 River Valley Floor||
LCA5D Dun River Valley Floor
A secluded Dun River Valley Floor meanders across a small scale pastoral landscape before joining the River Test, east of Dunbridge. This predominantly enclosed river valley landscape contrasts with the predominantly enclosed arable farmland to the north (LA3C) and south (LA3B)(LA10A). A number of woodland copses occupy the valley floor providing complete enclosure to the River Dun, in contrast to the adjacent areas of the more open pastoral landscape found on the valley floor.
Dun River Valley Floor follows the River Dun from West Dean into the River Test.
Local Physical Influences
Landform: Broad valley narrowing westwards, with the adjacent valley sides steeper to the south.
Geology and Soils: Alluvium with an intrusion of Valley Gravels and Reading Beds at Lockerly.
Drainage: The small watercourse of the River Dun, with numerous streams and ditches. A small lake at Lockerley.
Local Biodiversity and Vegetation Pattern
The dominant pattern in this area is permanent pasture with patches of woodland. There is a diverse flora and fauna particularly in those habitats associated with seasonal or permanent waterlogging. Many of the wet meadows are typical traditional grazed hay meadows that are becoming increasingly rare due to agricultural pressures. They are dominated by fine-leaved grasses such as Red Fescue, Crested Dogs-tail and Velvet Bent, with a variety of flowering plants including White Clover, Red Clover, Birds-foot Trefoil, Knapweed, Bulbous Buttercup, Yarrow, Yellow Rattle, Selfheal and Oxeye Daisy, and can include frequent orchids such as Bee Orchid, Common Spotted Orchid, Pyramidal Orchid, Southern Marsh Orchid, and Early Purple Orchid. Wetter areas include Yellow Flag, Water avens, King cup, and Milkmaids. Other notable habitats include areas of wet carr woodland, which with hedgerows, link to patches of ancient and semi-natural woodland and provide an important resource.
Local Historical Influences
A mixture of miscellaneous valley floor enclosures, occasional stands of valley floor woodland and areas of marsh and rough grazing dominate this Landscape Character Area. Only two water meadows are identified within this area and both surviving elements occur towards the eastern end of this narrow river valley. A catchwork water meadow (Type 1) is present occupying the northern slope while a larger bedwork water meadow (Type 4) extends across the valley floor as it widens out to meet the main valley of the River Test to the east at East Dean.
A single medieval moated site survives at the western end of the valley floor along the borders of the district. This is associated with a ‘Manor Farm’ immediately to the north, away from the valley floor and within LCA4A. This may represent a conscious move away from damp and wet environment on the valley floor to higher ground near by while retaining the historic connections with a manorial center.
Dunbridge is the only settlement which occupies this Landscape Character Area in its entirety although the largely later post medieval elements of Lockerley do extend into the valley of the River Dun. The settlement of Dunbridge, as the name suggests occupies a bridging point across the river and is largely a late eighteenth and nineteenth century construct which took advantage of the bridge and the presence of the railway. As such it is largely a nucleated village with later nineteenth and twentieth century extensions along the main roads.
Very few farms occupy the valley floor of this character area and are instead generally located upon the first river terrace.
Local Settlements and Features of Built Form
Dunbridge Clay River Valley Settlement Type
Lockerley (Northern portion): Clay Lowland Settlement Type
Traditional building styles include brick walls, many painted white, and clay tile roofs, clay tile hanging and thatch roofs. Boundary walls may be rendered or painted with clay tile copings.
Few comments were made for this area. It was noted that the railway line was not too intrusive.
Remoteness and Tranquillity
A generally secluded and tranquil valley which is disturbed by the railway line.
River gravels and alluvium over chalk, Reading Beds and clay
Flat bottom valley
Intimate valley floor dominated by small scale pasture and well developed hedgerow pattern creating a strong rural character
A mix of vegetation types adjacent the river providing areas of enclosure as well as openness
Small copses and groups of willow and alder
Largely miscellaneous valley floor enclosures with some valley floor woodland
Only two water meadow systems survive at the eastern end of the valley floor
Local Natural and Cultural Landscape Issues
Pollution of the river and its tributaries through fertiliser run off and aqua culture ventures (fish farms, water cress beds)
Closure of the MOD Munitions Depot at Dean hill and the effect on the SSSI.
10 SINCs, including agriculturally unimproved grassland, wet grassland and fen