|LCT9 Semi Enclosed Clay Plateau Farmland||
LCA9A North Andover Plateau
The North Andover Plateau is a gentle sloping plateau falling from around 125mAOD in the north to around 80mAOD in the south on the edge of Andover. Across the plateau a series of dry gravel river valleys run in a predominantly southerly direction linking to the River Anton, which eventually flows into the River Test south of Andover.
The dry valleys and gentle ridges have created a complex landuse and farming pattern, with predominantly larger fields arable found on the areas of higher ground, and a mosaic of small and medium field sizes located within the valleys. The larger arable fields lack hedgerows, but groupings of these fields are often enclosed by shelter belts, creating large uncomplicated open areas, as seen around the centre of this Landscape Character Area. A number of woodlands are found within this landscape, many associated with parklands, for example Ramridge Copse, with the park at Ramridge House and the numerous woods in the close vicinity to Redenham House, Clanville House and Penton Park.
Fields associated with the settlements are well hedged and irregular in size with a mix of arable, but predominantly pasture. The associated parklands bring further diversity to the land surrounding these settlements. The edge of Andover is strongly defined by fields meeting areas of built development. The open aspect of development to the countryside could have a visual impact and urbanise the immediate landscape quality.
North Andover Plateau lies north of Andover and extends to the settlements of Hatherden and Enham Alamein. The western boundary follows the A342.
Local Physical Influences
Geology and soils: As for the landscape character type.
Landform: South facing slopes with shallow dry valleys.
Drainage: Area drains into the River Anton.
Local Biodiversity and Vegetation Pattern
This area is principally arable farmland divided by hedgerows, with occasional small fields of pasture. There are important patches of ancient semi-natural woodland and the hedgerow structure provides some linkages between areas of woodland. The woodlands are mostly small copses, game spinneys and shelter belts. Most of the ancient semi-natural woodland is dominated by Ash with some Oak where the presence of Oak indicates more acidic pockets of soil. Ash is the most common tree species with Field Maple and Yew. Other trees found in low frequencies include Lime, Hornbeam and Elm. The shrub layers are generally composed of Hazel, Elder, Blackthorn, Dogwood, Spindle and Privet. Typically Hazel was planted as a coppice crop.
Ground flora includes Dogs Mercury, with Bluebells, Enchanters Nightshade, Arum Lily, Early Dog Violet, Yellow Archangel, Sanicle, Moschatel, and Pignut. Wetter areas often have dense covers of Ransoms/Wild Garlic. Typical orchids include Early Purple Orchid, Twayblade Birds-Nest Orchid. There are also several areas of parkland habitat with scattered trees and areas of unimproved grassland.
Local Historical Influences
The area of later medieval to 17th/18th century regular fields with wavy boundaries identified in Landscape Character Area 8A immediately to the north continues into this character area and is associated with an area of regular ladder fields to the east. Areas of parliamentary enclosure are located on the uplands to the east and west of the area and around the settlements of Appleshaw and Penton Mewsey.
The southern portion of this character area retains a much more varied agricultural landscape including an area of small rectilinear fields with “wavy” boundaries, regular fields with wavy boundaries and irregular fields with straight boundaries. The first two examples are thought to indicate 17th/18th century attempts at informal enclosure with the final form may represent land enclosed at the same time as parliamentary enclosure although not actually enclosed under the Inclosure Acts.
Stands of pre-1810 woodland and 19th century plantations area visible particularly around the 19th century parkland and house of Redenham Park. This house evidently had a considerable impact upon the design not only of its own park but also its immediate environs and was to all intents and purposes enclosed by a protective belt of woodland during the 19th century. In contrast Ramridge Park is relatively open to its surrounding environment although it does retain several copses within its grounds.
The north eastern corner of this character area retains significant portions of replanted pre-1810 woodland and replanted assarted pre-1810 woodland all close to Bourne Park north of Enham Alamein.
A Roman Road (the Icknield Way) extends through this area (through Bilgrove Copse) and is fossilized within the line of a later road.
The evidence from through this character area indicates a landscape undergoing significant change during the 19th century but which retains to an extent an eclectic early post-medieval agricultural landscape particularly along its southern borders. The presence of one pre-1810 and three post-1810 parklands and associated houses within this area has had a significant impact upon the development of this character area.
Penton Mewsey retains an extensive historic core laid out in a linear alignment along Chalkcroft Lane. To the west lies the 14th century church and the early 18th century manor house. The park nearby was developed during the 19th century and the settlement close by also largely dates to the 19th century. In a similar vein the villages of Appleshaw and Redenham have developed flanked by two large areas of parkland (Ramridge Park and Redenham Park). At Redenham in particular this has substantially effected its development and is classified here as an Estate Village Settlement Type. Within this western portion of the character area the presence of several large houses has played an important role in the development of settlement pattern.
Further to the east the settlements lie within an agricultural landscape which has become increasingly influenced by the development of Andover to the south. Settlements such as Knights Enham and Smannel all display significant developments during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Farmsteads appear to cluster around Smannell (within the 19th century parliamentary field system). Further to the west past Knights Enham, towards Penton Mewsey farmsteads continue to be well spaced throughout the regular fields with wavy boundaries. Further west the number of farms appears to fall and the landscape appears to become increasingly ‘stage managed’ around the great houses and parklands in this part of the district. It is likely that the Home farms often closely linked to the great houses managed large tracts of land within the western portion of this character area.
To the west, there are a number of settlements creating a well-settled landscape, with development predominantly located within the dry valleys. Originally more nucleated in form, however post 1811 development had led to their linear form as seen today. Farmsteads are also found within these settlements but are generally located to the edge of these settlements, further up the valley sides and within adjacent valleys.
This Landscape Character Area is well served by roads, with a number of major routeways seen towards the east located along the valley bottoms, with lesser roads criss-crossing the landscape linking the settlements and farmsteads. Roads within the west are shown to be more directional towards Andover resulting in roads traversing ridges and valleys.
Local Settlements and Features of Built Form
Appleshaw: Chalk Downland. Dry Valley Settlement Type.
Penton Grafton: Chalk River Valley Settlement Type
Penton Mewsey: Chalk River Valley Settlement Type
Local buildings are typically brick and flint with clay tile roofs.
There is concern that the fields are becoming larger and more open, with the loss of hedgerows and extensive areas of one crop. There are comments that the farmland around Andover is becoming disused and derelict or poorly maintained.
Remoteness and Tranquility
To the north of this area where the influence of Andover is less pronounced there are some remoter areas which will have a good level of tranquillity.
Complex plateau landscape with dry river gravel valleys and gentle ridges
Contrasting open areas of arable farmland with shelter belts on higher ground
Lack of hedgerows in arable landscape
Well hedged mix of mainly pasture associated with settlements
Built edge to Andover defined by field boundaries with open aspect
Mixed linear development degrading this landscape area along the A342
Mixed historic landscape displaying good survival of early post-medieval field systems along the southern border of this character area and also through its central portion
Significant influence from the four country houses and associated parklands and woodlands present within this character area
Close relationship between parkland and settlements
19th century parliamentary enclosure in the east of this character area
Pre-1810 woodland survives close to Bourne Park in the northeastern portion of this character area
A Roman Road extends through this area for a short distance
Distinction farmstead distribution varying from east to west
A tranquil landscape away from Andover.
Local Natural and Cultural Landscape Issues
Potential increase in urban influence on landscape north and west of Andover
Potential loss of distinction between the Pentons and Andover which could significantly impact upon the mixed landscape along the southern boundary of this character area
Retention of the close relationship between parkland and settlement form.
Appleshaw Manor House Conservation Area
Listed Building Grade II
Penton Park Grade II Listed lodges and stables
Clanville Lodge No designation
Doles House and Bourne Park No designation
Enham Place No designation
Redenham House and Park Listed Building Grade II*
Site of Roman Villa
16 SINCs, mostly ancient semi-natural woodland and other woodland