National Character Area 35

Lancashire Valleys - Detailed Statements of Environmental Opportunity

This section expands on the Headline Statements of Environmental Opportunity and provides further detail on each of the Statements of Environmental Opportunity.


SEO 1: Conserve and manage the Lancashire Valleys’ industrial heritage to safeguard the strong cultural identity and heritage of the textile industry with its distinctive sense of place and history.

For example by:

  • Protecting, conserving, managing and interpreting the area’s historic identity, in particular the buildings associated with past textile and mining/quarrying industries, urban fabric, parks, rural villages, country houses, parklands and industrial heritage, to ensure a better understanding of past land use and retain evidence of the relationships between features for the future.
  • Protecting, conserving, managing and interpreting the many layers of historical evidence to raise awareness and for public benefit, understanding and enjoyment.
  • Promoting and encouraging opportunities to restore and re-use vernacular buildings, using local styles and building materials in order to maintain and enhance the historic character of rural villages and urban areas.
  • Increasing awareness of, access to, and interpretation of the area’s strong industrial heritage/textile industry, particularly that associated with the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
  • Encouraging and promoting land management practices and developments, such as tracks, that will not be detrimental to, or damage, archaeological evidence or historic features.
  • Protecting and encouraging sensitive restoration and re-use of existing, redundant and derelict mill buildings and artefacts, such as mill ponds, associated with the textile industry to retain the historic industrial heritage, particularly linked to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
  • Seeking opportunities to promote and use the network of paths to gain access to, reveal and interpret the area’s rich history, to increase public understanding and enjoyment of it.
  • Raising awareness and increasing understanding of the local history of the area and its importance at a national level.
  • Conserving important geological exposures and providing interpretation, making links between the geology and the industries that relied on these resources.


SEO 2: Increase the resilience and significance of woodland and trees, and manage and expand existing tree cover to provide a range of benefits, including helping to assimilate new infrastructure; reconnecting fragmented habitats and landscape features; storing carbon; and providing fuel, wood products, shelter and recreational opportunities.

For example by:

  • Protecting, conserving and enhancing the mosaic and diversity of existing woodlands, especially ancient semi-natural woodland, and improve their connectivity.
  • Bringing the area’s small broadleaved woodlands, particularly on farms, into management, focusing on the visually important clough and ridge-side woodlands on the lower hillsides and the wet woodlands in the valley bottoms, and focusing on farm shelter plantings and copses that are distinctive to the industrial foothills and valleys.
  • Planting new broadleaved woodlands, particularly on degraded farmland and vacant industrial land in the urban fringe, focusing on the visually important clough and ridge-side woodlands.
  • Managing and restoring hedges and field boundary trees and connecting to existing fragmented and degraded habitats.
  • Encouraging sustainable management of existing woodlands to produce surplus timber and biomass for local use – for example, for wood-fired boilers – while maintaining their biodiversity and landscape value, increasing resilience, and regulating soils and water.
  • Ensuring that new woodland strengthens the local landscape and enhances biodiversity, providing recreational opportunities where possible.
  • Creating new woodlands to assimilate urban development and to enhance rural character and tranquillity where appropriate.
  • Promoting and marketing small-scale biomass production through planting on sites that are isolated by development and are not suitable for agriculture, spoil heaps or closed landfill sites.
  • Supporting the aims of the North West Regional Forestry Framework and sub-regional strategies.


SEO 3: Manage and support the agricultural landscape through conserving, enhancing, linking and expanding the habitat network, and manage and plan for the associated potential impact of urban fringe development, intensive agriculture and climate change mitigation.

For example by:

  • Conserving, enhancing and expanding characteristic landscape and important ecological resources, such as species-rich, unimproved/semi-improved meadows and pastures and wetland meadows, including bringing nationally and locally designated habitats into, and maintaining, favourable condition.
  • Managing land adjacent to isolated habitats to ensure that they are protected, expanded, buffered and linked to increase habitat connectivity and allow species movement, especially along rivers, the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, mill ponds and clough woodlands.
  • Encouraging improved management of grassland and woodland through increased uptake of environmental incentive schemes to provide a farmed landscape of fields, well-managed hedgerows, mosaics of grass and margins, and small woodlands to benefit species such as farmland birds.
  • Managing pressures on remnant farmland adjoining urban areas so that the characteristic stone wall and hedgerow field boundaries, especially those adjacent to urban areas, lanes and important footpaths and viewpoints, are conserved and enhanced.
  • Managing and extending permanent grassland, woodland, wetland and riparian habitats along watercourses, the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, cloughs and valley sides to capture sediment, increase holding capacity, slow down run-off and improve infiltration.
  • Managing pastures at a sustainable level, to improve soil structure, increase soil carbon storage, aid water infiltration and slow down/reduce water run-off, and safeguard water and soil quality.
  • Encouraging expansion of wetland habitats such as reedbeds, woodlands and wet grasslands along valley bottoms, to improve flood mitigation by intercepting and retaining water for longer.
  • Encouraging and promoting opportunities within the Upper Ribble and Hodder sub-catchment to provide flood storage and create habitat that could reduce downstream flood risk.


SEO 4: Conserve and manage the distinction between small rural settlements and the densely urban areas and ensure that new development is sensitively designed to contribute to settlement character, reduce the impact of the urban fringe and provide well-designed green infrastructure to enhance recreation, biodiversity and water flow regulation.

For example by:

  • ‘Designing in’ green infrastructure principles with housing expansion, business park developments (associated with key road intersections), expansion of water treatment facilities and associated changes such as horsiculture.
  • Encouraging innovative new uses for old and/or abandoned buildings, while preserving their characteristic features.
  • In urban areas, protecting important views to the hills from the impact of new development, including windfarms.
  • Providing new permissive access that links to open access land, long distance rights of way, country parks and other areas of greenspace.
  • Protecting the nature conservation interest of vacant land from new development.
  • Protecting the setting of the adjacent Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
  • Seek opportunities to develop sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) in urban areas in particularly in new development, to improve infiltration and manage surface water.
  • Improving the urban-rural fringe through careful design and integration of green infrastructure with housing and industry, through linking new developments with the wider countryside and sustainably manage urban activities within agricultural areas.
  • Improving, maintaining and expanding semi-natural habitats on farmland, such as meadows, pastures, wetlands and clough woodlands, which may increase the sense of tranquillity in the urban fringes, for example by planting new woodlands and shelter belts, and ensuring new developments are sensitively designed to reduce any visual and infrastructure impacts on rural areas and the urban fringe.
  • Ensuring new woodland screens urban fringes to enhance rural character and tranquillity and contributes to recreational value by providing appropriate access to encourage public engagement with and enjoyment of nature.

On this Page