National Character Area 102

Teme Valley - 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

SEO 1: Protect, manage and enhance the nationally important species, habitats and geomorphology of and associated with the River Teme by employing positive management practices in and around the catchment to improve water quality, reduce soil erosion, regulate water flow and minimise the impacts of flooding.

For example by:

  • Supporting the Severn Rivers Trust, who lead the Teme Catchment Partnership, co-ordinating a group comprising partners, individuals, communities, organisations, companies and land managers to solve some of the problems, and to improve water quality, wildlife and habitats in and around the Teme catchment as part of the second cycle of river basin management plans, under the Water Framework Directive.
  • Supporting the Severn Rivers Trust, through the mechanism of the Teme Catchment Partnership, to deliver a range of projects on the Teme that contribute to implementation of the River Teme Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) restoration plan, such as overseeing the delivery of practical schemes outlined within the River Restoration Strategy; preparing detailed proposals for future delivery projects; liaising with key interest groups including anglers and landowners; securing funds for actions at key structures; and increasing public awareness and engagement in the river system.
  • On slopes near the River Teme, maintaining and extending low-input permanent pasture, hedgerows and woodland across slopes and valley bottoms to reduce soil erosion, and improve water quality and biodiversity.
  • Restoring natural river geomorphology where this is viable and where it is of particular benefit to biodiversity, including to fish populations.
  • Bringing rivers back into continuity with their flood plains, and re- establishing backwaters as a refuge for aquatic species in times of drought.
  • Allowing the seasonal inundation of wetlands and flood plain pastures as part of flood alleviation measures. This reflects the policies of the Catchment Flood Management Plans, as well as being essential to sustaining wetland habitats.
  • Working with landowners to identify suitable locations to realise opportunities for creating winter water storage areas and new wetland habitats, where possible.
  • Managing woodland on hillsides and bankside trees where it is appropriate by coppicing to minimise land slippage and soil erosion.
  • Managing livestock grazing close to the river to minimise soil compaction, soil erosion and diffuse pollution while addressing the need for the provision of water for livestock that does not have an impact on water quality.
  • Retaining, restoring and protecting bankside vegetation and the natural flood plain function of the River Teme and its tributaries by appropriately managing, restoring and creating wetland habitats such as flood plain wetlands (where appropriate), increasing floodwater storage capacity, reducing the rate of surface water run-off and soil erosion, minimising the negative impacts of flooding, and improving resilience to climate change, water quality and biodiversity.
  • Creating grassland buffer strips adjacent to the river to reduce soil erosion and improve water quality.
  • Providing educational and recreational opportunities to increase awareness and understanding of the special qualities of the River Teme and its geomorphology.
  • Encouraging sustainable water use – both within and outside the boundaries of the National Character Area, and across sectors – to protect the Cotswold aquifer from over-abstraction and to mitigate the negative impacts of low river flows on biodiversity, while improving resilience to climate change.

SEO 2

SEO 2: Protect and positively manage the range of habitats associated with the River Teme Valley – ancient woodland, meadows, orchards, hop yards, wood pasture, parkland and enclosed common – to maintain, restore and strengthen their connectivity and landscape character, and to make them more resilient to change in climate and localised development, and maintain viable and appropriate agricultural activity.

For example by:

  • Maintaining, restoring and enhancing semi-natural and ancient woodlands (for example, the north-east section of the Wyre Forest SSSI), with their associated biodiversity, landscape character, recreation opportunities, and for the benefits this can bring to soil quality and long-term carbon storage.
  • Increasing the extent of native woodland and managing existing woodlands to improve connectivity with fragmented small woodlands and other habitats, re-introducing coppicing and other traditional sustainable woodland management techniques, promoting responsible recreation where appropriate and increasing carbon storage for climate regulation. Refer to the Forestry Commission’s Woodland Opportunity Map – Priority for Planting for creating links to the smaller woodland fragments to secure and enhance them, and also the Ancient Woodland Landscape Map.
  • Protecting species-rich grasslands and meadows, managing, creating and restoring unimproved grassland where appropriate and traditional orchard habitat to provide an interconnected grassland habitat network.
  • Retaining, restoring and enhancing existing traditional cherry and cider apple orchards, protecting and managing their associated biodiversity and local genetic varieties and historic buildings, for example cider houses and hop kilns and their associated cultural heritage, through local and community events, creating new recreation and education resources.
  • Maintaining, restoring and enhancing wood pasture and parkland. Maintaining standing dead trees and fallen trees within wood pasture and parkland (where it is safe to do so) to provide habitats for a range of species including invertebrates, roosting bats and birds, and replanting to replace, where appropriate, fallen and decayed ancient, veteran and mature trees to maintain landscape character and sense of place and enhance biodiversity.
  • Protecting and promoting the ‘common landscape’ including common- edge smallholdings (squatter settlements) and small farms (associated with commons and areas of wood clearance).
  • Protecting and managing the inherent small-to-medium-scale piecemeal enclosure pattern by retaining, restoring, managing and planting new hedgerows in traditional local style; and where planting new hedgerows, ensuring that, where damsons and mature trees are a distinctive feature, replacements are planted where appropriate to enhance landscape character and improve habitat connectivity, particularly where this can assist in regulating soil erosion.

SEO 3

SEO 3: Protect, manage and enhance the geodiversity, geomorphology, soils, and cultural and historical features of the Teme Valley, including fine examples such as Woodbury Quarry, Southstone Rock, Shavers End Quarry, and Woodbury Hill and Berrow Hill iron-age hill forts, to reinforce the strong relationship between the landscape, its history of land use, and archaeological and cultural heritage, by encouraging interpretation, understanding, access and recreational opportunities which could increase public understanding of this deeply tranquil rural valley.

For example by:

  • Conserving and enhancing geological sites where appropriate, by retaining and managing important exposures and deposition. Facilitating and promoting access to such sites to help to improve the understanding of the role that geodiversity plays and its connection with biodiversity and landscape character, as well as industrial and cultural heritage. Supporting local geological groups and initiatives related to recording, interpretation and outreach.
  • Through geodiversity partnerships, encouraging volunteering and training of volunteers in surveying techniques and geo-conservation methods, to improve the quality of sites and to retain the knowledge and skills required for their future management.
  • Supporting and encouraging the opening or re-opening of old building stone quarries in the area subject to such quarries being of appropriate small scale, location and environmental acceptability.
  • Promoting and encouraging the use of local building stone to conserve the integrity of the rural area through the use of characteristic local materials such as the sandstones that have been traditionally used for building.
  • Managing former extraction sites for their range of mutually beneficial heritage interests including geodiversity, biodiversity and industrial archaeology. Working in partnership with sand and gravel quarry operators to develop restoration plans to preserve geological features when extraction ceases and to improve access to cuttings, quarries and other geological features by improving footpaths and providing signage and interpretation.
  • Raising awareness of Local Biodiversity and Geodiversity Action Plans in the planning phase of developments in relation to the importance of Local Sites (biological and geological) to heritage and for the unique habitats that they provide and the contribution that they can make to the sense of place, history and cultural associations of the area.
  • Working with the local geodiversity partnership to designate further Local Geological Sites in order to assist with the understanding and enjoyment of geodiversity and to provide opportunities for recreation and volunteering.
  • Working with local authorities, consultants and developers to ensure that important geological exposures (Local Geological Sites) are protected and that their integrity is maintained and is not obscured by development.
  • Protecting the prehistoric archaeology on the higher ground alongside the River Teme, as well as the dispersed medieval settlement pattern and the inherent small-to-medium-scale piecemeal field pattern associated with the enclosure of open fields, woodland and commons, and the re-organisation of the partially enclosed, piecemeal landscape of the 18th and 19th centuries.
  • Conserving and enhancing archaeological interests and providing opportunities to increase people’s understanding and enjoyment of archaeological heritage through improved interpretation and education.
  • Improving the condition of heritage assets across the Teme Valley using appropriate measures while promoting and supporting opportunities arising from agri-environment schemes and seeking to reduce conflicting or unsympathetic management regimes.
  • Maintaining and enhancing the diverse, undulating and distinctive landscape character of the Teme Valley with its north-south Silurian limestone ridge of the Abberley Hills and the incised river valleys of the Teme and its tributaries. Working with the farming community to promote and maintain the pastoral character of the lower hills and river valleys by encouraging good land, water and soil management practices and sustainable grazing regimes, to maintain a sustainable mixed farming sector, minimising run-off rates and reducing diffuse pollution.
  • Retaining, managing and replanting traditional orchards and conserving old fruit varieties, building on the developing market for fruit grown locally and awareness of this as local, high-quality produce.
  • Conserving and protecting historic parks and gardens, medieval settlement patterns and sunken lanes which all contribute to the tranquillity and sense of place of the area.

SEO 4

SEO 4: Protect and enhance the intrinsic tranquillity and distinctive landscape character of the Teme Valley, conserving and enhancing the settlement pattern, and promoting better understanding and enjoyment to reinforce a strong sense of place.

For example by:

  • Maintaining the sense of tranquillity and intimacy within the landscape by protecting the expansive views toward the Malvern Hills and the Shropshire Hills, particularly Titterstone Clee Hill in the north and far views west to the receding Herefordshire plateau and the mountains of Wales beyond to maintain and reinforce the sense of place.
  • Maintaining the sense of inspiration and escapism likely to be associated with much of the intimate valley landscape, distinctive views of traditional and landmark buildings, including a number of notable churches and the clock tower at Abberley Hall, traditional orchards and hop yards, woodland and the presence of running water.
  • Protecting the distinctive dispersed settlement pattern from inappropriate development and infrastructure that would detract from the sense of remoteness and tranquillity of the area.
  • Conserving and enhancing the local building tradition of red, pink and grey sandstone, red brick and timber framing in the oldest buildings and manor houses, and strong field and settlement patterns defined by hedgerows and damson hedgerows and mature trees, by promoting the maintenance and restoration of traditional farmsteads, listed buildings and field boundaries, and respecting the local building tradition, using traditional materials and local stone. Managing development within the built environment to retain the distinctive character of the area’s settlements and landscape character, while ensuring that new developments provide biodiversity enhancement rather than just mitigation.
  • Promoting the use of measures that reduce noise and light pollution and visual intrusion in new and existing developments.
  • Exploring opportunities to improve and promote the rights of way network and for sustainable tourism initiatives that will increase visitors’ environmental awareness and improve profitability of local businesses, while protecting the special qualities of the area.
  • Encouraging appropriate local development that is accessible to local people.
  • Protecting the area’s rural nature, lack of intrusion and tranquillity while supporting a working landscape that provides essential food, homes and recreational opportunities.
  • Maximising opportunities to integrate the delivery of green infrastructure into new developments, where appropriate.
  • Planning for future community needs that will have landscape impacts, for example the need to provide affordable homes and jobs within a working landscape. Planning for economic development that supports local jobs and landscape objectives, for example low-key tourism and recreation, high-quality products, energy crops and the green economy.

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