National Character Area 3

Cheviot Fringe - Key Characteristics

  • Corridor of softer mudstones, sandstones and limestones forming a lowland landscape of valleys and plains between the more resistant rocks of the Cheviot Hills to the west and the Northumberland Sandstone Hills to the east.

  • Many landscape features shaped by glaciation and deposition, including extensive clay and sand deposits on the Milfield Plain, drumlin fields within the Tweed valley lowlands, and distinctive hummocky kettle moraines, sinuous eskers and kames within the gently undulating vales.

  • Agricultural landscape of mixed farmland on good quality loamy soils, combining pasture and meadows for livestock with arable, and interspersed with parklands.

  • Strong pattern of hedgerows, with many hedgerow trees within the undulating vales, contrasting with flatter, more open, arable farmland to the north.

  • Strong rectilinear pattern of small, coniferous woodland blocks and shelterbelts with deciduous woodland more prevalent along watercourses.

  • Many meandering rivers and streams, often flowing between raised terraces and flat, gravel benches, supporting internationally and nationally threatened species such as Atlantic salmon, sea trout, otter, lamprey, water vole and water crowfoot, and providing one of England’s most important game fisheries.

  • Farmed environment supporting a nationally important assemblage of farmland birds and providing important roosts and feeding grounds for wintering wildfowl on the coast, with wet woodland and grazing marsh occurring along streams and rivers, and pockets of fens, mires and heath scattered within the landscape.

  • Small, traditional villages strategically sited at river bridging points and on the break of slope of the surrounding uplands and the flatter vale floor, and isolated farm hamlets and farmsteads.

  • Sandstone, either rubble or dressed, is the predominant building material, with blue-grey roof slates and orange pantiles.

  • A wealth of heritage assets – extensive buried artefacts from Mesolithic, Neolithic, bronze-age, iron-age and Anglo-Saxon settlements – and upstanding defensive structures such as fortified castles, bastle houses and tower houses associated with three centuries of border conflict.

  • Tranquil, rural landscape with small, nucleated villages linked by minor roads; only one major road (A697) links to adjacent NCAs.