National Character Area 93

High Leicestershire - Key Characteristics

  • A varied landform of geology and soils, predominantly a succession of Lias Group mudstones, largely cloaked by glacial tills and dissected to form a rolling landscape of ridges and valleys.

  • High central plateau radiating streams south, east and west along wide and narrow valleys. There are also many associated waterbodies including rivers, reservoirs and field ponds.

  • Mixed farming regime, with arable mainly on the ridgetops and the wide valley bottoms. Intact and well-managed hedgerow networks.

  • Sense of many trees being present in the landscape arising from surviving concentrations of ancient woodland, abundant wide hedgerows, hedgerow trees, copses, spinneys and small woodlands, the last often sited on ridges.

  • Ancient oak and ash woodlands and unimproved grassland provide important habitats for key species such as otter, barn owl, yellow wagtail, skylark, lapwing, grey partridge and tree sparrow.

  • Sparse settlement of small villages with little modern development. Ironstone and limestone churches and vernacular buildings but also abundant red brick with some survival of timber frame and thatch.

  • A rich historic landscape hosting iron-age hill forts, frequent and very prominent ridge and furrow, ancient woodland and veteran trees, fine landscape parkland and attractive country houses often associated with evidence of many deserted or shrunken medieval settlements.

  • Network of quiet green lanes linking rural communities and a remote, sometimes empty character.