National Character Area 8

Cumbria High Fells

© Will Herman/Natural England

The Cumbria High Fells covers the north and central Lake District and is largely within the Lake District National Park. It is a dramatic upland landscape, carved by past glaciations, with rugged peaks, ridges and open fells, separated by U-shaped valleys with a radiating pattern of lakes and rivers. The complex geology of the area has resulted in the smooth sided fells of the Skiddaw Group rocks, the rugged Borrowdale Volcanic Group fells and granite of the central area, with slates, mudstones and limestones forming the surrounding lower fells and foothills. The area is of national importance for its extensive mineralisation and the resultant mining heritage, dating back to the medieval period. Keswick and Ambleside are the main settlements with villages, hamlets and farmsteads along the valleys.

A small farming plot on a steep hillside.
© Will Herman/Natural England

Summary and Headline Statements of Environmental Opportunity

Summary of the National Character Area, including a general description of the landscape, and headline Statements of Environmental Opportunity (SEOs).

A large green field with a mountain in the background
© Natural England

Context Map

Interactive map that provides context to the National Character Area and its surrounds.

A stone circle with mountains in the background
© Natural England

Key Characteristics

A list of the key characteristics of the National Character Area, which includes both natural and human influences on the landscape.

A stone building sitting at the bottom of a mountain.
© Will Herman/Natural England

Description

Overview of how this NCA links to others, a description of the landscape today, and a summary of how the landscape has changed over time.

A waterfall on a rocky mountain.
© Will Herman/Natural England

Key Facts & Data

Detail on the spatial distribution, type and quantity of components and features of the National Character Area.

A group of people walking on top of a snow covered mountain
© Will Herman/Natural England

Natural Capital and Key Ecosystem Services

Overview of Natural Capital, and the benefits to society this NCA provides, linking to the Natural England Natural Capital Atlas.

A river flowing through rocks.
© Will Herman/Natural England

Landscape Change

Monitored landscape change within the NCA, derived from the Outcome Indicator Framework for the 25 Year Environment Plan. Additional information is also provided on the changes and trends within the landscape as reported in 2014.

A group of farmers herding their sheep on a hillside.
© Natural England

Detailed Statements of Environmental Opportunity

Detailed lists of how each Statement of Environmental Opportunity could be achieved.

A river passing a herd of sheep grazing on a lush green field
© Natural England

Analysis: Landscape Attributes & Opportunities

This analysis section focuses on the landscape attributes and opportunities for this National Character Area.

A body of water with a mountain in the background
© Charlie Hedley/Natural England

Analysis: Ecosystem Services

This analysis section focuses on a selection of the key provisioning, regulating and cultural ecosystem goods and services for this National Character Area.

Other Information

Below are links to external data sources that are relevant to National Character Area 8 - Cumbria High Fells

Other information link to

Green Infrastructure Interactive Map

Defra and Natural England's Green Infrastructure (GI) interactive map can be used to understand access to existing green infrastructure within each NCA. Good quality Green Infrastructure (GI) has an important role to play in our urban and rural environments for improving health and wellbeing, air quality, nature recovery and resilience to and mitigation of climate change, along with addressing issues of social inequality and environmental decline. The Green Infrastructure Framework is a commitment in the Government's 25 Year Environment Plan. It supports the greening of our towns and cities and connections with the surrounding landscape. As part of this, Defra and Natural England have developed a Beta version (V1.1) of an England-wide GI interactive map, which will support local authorities and other stakeholders to assess green infrastructure provision against the emerging GI Standards. By layering on the National Character Areas, listed under "Designated and Defined Area", users can map green infrastructure to help identify existing provision and demand within the NCA, as well as to compare GI provision between neighbouring NCAs.

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MAGiC Interactive Mapping Tool

Defra's MAGiC Interactive Mapping Tool presents geographic information about the natural environment from across the government. The information covers rural, urban, coastal and marine environments on an interactive map. The NCA boundaries can be overlaid to view this information by selecting Landscape/National Character Areas.

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National Landscape (AONB) Management Plans

National Landscapes (legally known as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty - AONBs) are nationally important landscapes, designated under the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act. Their primary purpose is to 'conserve and enhance natural beauty'. Each National Landscape has a statutory Management Plan to drive partnership action across their areas. The Plan also outlines the special qualities that underpin the designated landscape. These documents can be found on each individual National Landscape website by searching for "Management Plan". Management Plans are updated every five years.

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National Park Management Plans

National Parks are nationally designated landscapes with two statutory purposes: 1) to conserve and enhance their natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage; and 2) to promote opportunities for public enjoyment and understanding of their special qualities. Reviewed every five years, National Park Management Plans set out how a range of organisations will work together to achieve shared objectives for the management of the National Park. The Plans also set out the special qualities that underpin the nationally designated landscape.

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Natural Capital Atlas Profile

The Natural Capital Atlas Profiles provide an "off the shelf" natural capital evidence base for each county or city region. Understanding the state of our natural environment is the essential first step to improving it. Natural England's Natural Capital Indicators (Lusardi et al., 2018) are designed to inform our understanding of the state of our natural assets. The indicators highlight the importance of our natural assets for delivering which ecosystem service and the benefits they provide for society. Understanding the state of natural capital is essential to enable the sustainable provision of multiple benefits, now and into the future. The best available and nationally consistent evidence is used to map out indicators showing asset quality, quantity and location. Indicators for some flows of ecosystem services are also mapped. These atlases provide an "off the shelf" natural capital evidence base for the relevant county or city regions within this NCA. They have a wide variety of uses with more information in the How to Start Using Your Natural Capital Atlas.

Other information link to

NCA8 Farmsteads Character Statement

The Historic England Farmstead & Landscape Statement summarises evidence on farmsteads and buildings in their landscape and settlement context, as well as the historic character, significance and foresight issues for the NCA. Historic farmsteads, comprising the farmhouse and working farm buildings, make a fundamental contribution to landscape character, local distinctiveness and a sense of place. They are also assets which, through agricultural or new uses, can make an important contribution to the rural economy and communities. The Farmstead and Landscape Statement is supported by advice on farm buildings, which provides links to the National Farmsteads Character Statement, national guidance on Farm Building Types and a fully-sourced summary in the regional Historic Farmsteads: Preliminary Character Statements.