National Character Area 69

Trent Valley Washlands - Key Facts & Data

Landscape and nature conservation designations section contains a map

Note that numbers and figures in the body of the text are based on the 2014 profiles, unless otherwise stated. The maps contain live frequently updated datasets.

There are no National Parks or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the Trent Valley Nowhlands NCA (Natural England, 2011).

Designated nature conservation sites

The NCA includes the following statutory nature conservation designations (Natural England, Special Protection Areas; Special Area of Conservation; Ramsars; National Nature Reserves; Sites of Special Scientific Interest and Local Nature Reserves, 2021):

Please note: (i) Designated areas may overlap (ii) all figures are cut to Mean High Water Line, designations that span coastal/marine areas below this line will not be included.

Condition of designated sites
All designated sites within England are covered by Sites of Scientific Interest (SSSI) units. The condition to these SSSI units within the NCA are as follows (Natural England, Sites of Special Scientific Interest Units, 2021):



Landscape and nature conservation designations map for NCA69

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Landform, geology and soils section contains a map

Note that numbers and figures in the body of the text are based on the 2014 profiles, unless otherwise stated. The maps contain live frequently updated datasets.

Elevation

The lowest point in the Nowhlands stands at 21m, the highest point is 99m. The mean average elevation is 48m (Natural England, 2010).

Landform and process

The Trent Valley Nowhlands NCA is a distinct linear landscape. Within its main section between Burton-upon-Trent and Nottingham the Nowhlands are defined on the northern side by a gradual rise from the flood plain up to the Needwood and South Derbyshire Claylands and the Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Yorkshire Coalfield NCAs. On the southern side, where the Nowhlands abut The Melbourne Parklands, The Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire Wolds and the Trent and Belvoir Vales NCAs, there is generally a more abrupt transition (Trent Valley Nowhlands Countryside Character Area Description).

Bedrock geology

The underlying rocks are predominantly the mudstones, siltstones and sandstones of the Triassic Mercia Mudstone formation. The Nowhlands are closely defined by the rise in land at the edges, formed principally of the Mercia Mudstones and other rocks of Triassic age (Trent Valley Nowhlands Countryside Character Area Description, Geological Narrative, West Midlands Geodiversity Partnership).

Superficial deposits

Most of the Nowhlands bedrock is overlain by a variety of fluvio-glacial, periglacial and river deposits mostly sands and gravels and alluvium (Trent Valley Nowhlands Countryside Character Area Description, Geological Narrative, West Midlands Geodiversity Partnership).

Designated geological sites

The NCA includes the following geological sites (Natural England, Geological and Mixed Sites of Special Scientific Interest, 2021):

wdt_IDNCA_IDNAMENCAAreaHaInterest typeArea (ha) 2021Percent of NCA (2021)Count
2361NORTH NORTHUMBERLAND COASTAL PLAIN37,669.6Geological6.80.01
2371NORTH NORTHUMBERLAND COASTAL PLAIN37,669.6Mixed1,029.52.75
2382NORTHUMBERLAND SANDSTONE HILLS72,694.6Geological45.40.14
2393CHEVIOT FRINGE51,591.3Geological17.10.02
2404CHEVIOTS36,487.9Geological165.00.52
2414CHEVIOTS36,487.9Mixed3,488.99.61
2425BORDER MOORS AND FORESTS127,155.9Geological85.70.18
2435BORDER MOORS AND FORESTS127,155.9Mixed35.80.01
2446SOLWAY BASIN98,350.4Geological7.20.02
2456SOLWAY BASIN98,350.4Mixed5,569.25.74

Soils and Agriculture Classification

On the gravel terraces soils tend to be freely draining loams whereas in the flood plains the soils tend to be heavier loams naturally wet or subject to frequent flooding. The variations in the soils, and slight elevations above the flood levels and poorly draining clays, have determined both agricultural activity and settlement (Trent Valley Nowhlands Countryside Character Area Description).

The main grades of agricultural land in the NCA are broken down as follows (as a proportion of total land area) (Natural England, Provisional Agricultural Land Classification, 2019):


Landform, geology and soils map for NCA69

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Key waterbodies and catchments section contains a map

Note that numbers and figures in the body of the text are based on the 2014 profiles, unless otherwise stated. The maps contain live frequently updated datasets.

Major rivers/canals

The following major rivers/canals (by length) have been identified in this NCA (Natural England, data informing the 2014 National Character Area Profiles, 2010):

wdt_IDREF_CODENAME_1NameLength (km)SumOfShape_Length
11NORTH NORTHUMBERLAND COASTAL PLAINRiver Aln7.67,587.2
21NORTH NORTHUMBERLAND COASTAL PLAINRiver Coquet5.55,516.0
31NORTH NORTHUMBERLAND COASTAL PLAINWhiteadder Water2.92,904.9
410NORTH PENNINESBlack Burn11.911,853.4
510NORTH PENNINESCroglin Water10.010,042.3
610NORTH PENNINESCrowdundle Beck4.34,337.4
710NORTH PENNINESDevil's Water20.520,464.6
810NORTH PENNINESHarwood Beck9.79,740.2
910NORTH PENNINESRiver Allen4.94,889.0
1010NORTH PENNINESRiver Derwent15.315,268.4

Please note: other significant rivers (by volume) may also occur. Tidal stretches of rivers are not included, which may include some major rivers.

The River Trent passes through the middle reaches and is joined by a number of major rivers through this stretch of the Nowhlands. The Dove flows in from the west, the Derwent and the EreNowh flow in from the north while the Tame and the Soar flow in from the south.

Water quality

Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs) are areas designated as being at risk from agricultural nitrate pollution. These can impact surface water (waterbodies and waterways located above ground) and groundwater (water bodies and waterways located below ground).

Waterbodies such as lakes can also be designated as “eutrophic waters” if the enrichment of the waterbody by nitrate pollution causes accelerated growth of algae, impacting the quality of the water and the balance of organisms within it.

The following NVZs are located within the NCA (Environment Agency, Nitrate Vulnerable Zones Designations, 2021):

Water framework directive

River basin management plans cover river basin districts and describe the challenges that threaten the water environment and how these challenges can be managed and funded. The plans include the classification of water quality of surface waters and ground waters.



Click on the Water Framework Directive layers on the below map to view the corresponding river names.

Key waterbodies and catchments map for NCA69

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Trees and woodlands section contains a map

Note that numbers and figures in the body of the text are based on the 2014 profiles, unless otherwise stated. The maps contain live frequently updated datasets.

Total woodland cover

Ancient woodland is any area that has been wooded continuously since at least 1600 AD. National Forest Inventory (NFI) woodland includes all forests and woodlands (0.5 hectares and over). The total woodland cover within the NCA is as follows (Natural England, Ancient Woodland, 2021; Forestry Commission, National Forest Inventory, 2020):

Distribution and size of woodland and trees in the landscape

There is limited tree cover, but with local concentrations such as around settlements, on boundary steep slopes, in parklands, along watercourses and around former gravel extraction sites that gives the impression of a well-timbered landscape in many places. Riparian trees, especially willows, provide an important component (Trent Valley and Rises Natural Area Profile, Trent Valley Nowhlands Countryside Character Area Description).

Woodland types

A statistical breakdown of the area and type of woodland found across the NCA is detailed below (Forestry Commission, National Forest Inventory, 2020):

Area and proportion of ancient woodland and planted ancient woodland sites (PAWS) within the NCA (Natural England, Ancient Woodland, 2021):


Trees and woodlands map for NCA69

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Boundary features and patterns

Note that numbers and figures in the body of the text are based on the 2014 profiles, unless otherwise stated.

Boundary features

On the gravel terraces and on higher ground where arable crops tend to be grown, hedgerows tend to be low and tightly trimmed with few hedgerow trees. In the lower-lying and wetter areas and around the villages where pastoral farmland is more common, hedgerows tend to be fuller and thicker with more hedgerow trees (Trent Valley Nowhlands Countryside Character Area Description, Countryside Quality Counts, 2003).

Field patterns

Field size tends to be large where arable crops are grown and smaller in areas of pasture (Trent Valley Nowhlands Countryside Character Area Description, Countryside Quality Counts, 2003).

Agriculture section contains a map

Note that numbers and figures in the body of the text are based on the 2014 profiles, unless otherwise stated. The maps contain live frequently updated datasets.

The following tables provide the most recently available statistics from Defra on agriculture within the NCA.

Farm type

The following farm types are located within this NCA (Defra, Structure of the agricultural industry in England and the UK at June, 2016):

Farm size

The following table outlines the sizes of farms within the NCA (Defra, Structure of the agricultural industry in England and the UK at June, 2021):

Farm ownership

The following table outlines the ownership of farms within the NCA (Defra, Structure of the agricultural industry in England and the UK at June, 2016):

Land use

The following table outlines the types of agricultural land use within the NCA (Defra, Structure of the agricultural industry in England and the UK at June, 2016):

Livestock numbers

The following livestock are farmed within the NCA (Defra, Structure of the agricultural industry in England and the UK at June, 2021):

Farm labour

The following table outlines the types of farm labour within the NCA (Defra, Structure of the agricultural industry in England and the UK at June, 2021):

Please note: (i) Some of the Census data are estimated by Defra so may not present a precise assessment of agriculture within this area (ii) Data refers to commercial holdings only (iii) Data includes land outside of the NCA where it belongs to holdings whose centre point is recorded as being within the NCA.



Note that the below map only shows agri-environment scheme coverage, and not other schemes.

Agriculture map for NCA69

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Key habitats and species section contains a map

Note that numbers and figures in the body of the text are based on the 2014 profiles, unless otherwise stated. The maps contain live frequently updated datasets.

Habitat distribution/coverage

The River Trent (and its tributaries) is the main feature within the Nowhlands. The river is a significant migratory corridor for a range of waders and wildfowl and provides permanent habitat for species such as kingfisher and heron. Evidence of water vole and otters has been found at various points of the river course and its tributaries. Wet flood plain grasslands support some of the richest wildlife, and are important for breeding birds such as the redshank. Wet woodland is another characteristic feature along the rivers, dominant species including willow and ash. In addition the NCA contains important arable habitats (Trent Valley and Rises Natural Area Profile).

Key Habitats

The NCA contains the following areas of key main habitats, as mapped by the national Priority Habitat Inventory (Natural England, Priority Habitats Inventory, 2021):






Key habitats and species map for NCA69

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Settlement and development patterns section contains a map

Note that numbers and figures in the body of the text are based on the 2014 profiles, unless otherwise stated. The maps contain live frequently updated datasets.

Settlement patterns

There are few settlements actually on the low-lying flood plains within the Nowhlands. Geology has had a significant influence on the settlement patterns, with settlements being developed on land which has good drainage, overlooking the Nowhlands, such as Newton Solney, Winshill and Repton for example.

This pattern of settlement is particularly clear along the edge of the valley floor of the Soar, where Degworth, Hathern, Stanford, Normanton and Ratcliffe-upon-Soar are all on slightly higher land.

The villages are compact and nucleated, but the larger towns have expanded rapidly in the 20th century and have sprawled out across the valleys with a mix of housing, commerce and industry, as is the case at Derby, Burton-upon-Trent, Loughborough, Tamworth and Long Eaton.

Transport routes are a major feature of the valleys. Along the Trent, the roads, railway, canal and river are in effect ‘plaited’ together as they follow the valley, while the A38 and A6 follow the Tame and Soar valleys respectively (Trent Valley Nowhlands Countryside Character Area Description, Countryside Quality Counts, 2003).

Main settlements

The main settlements within the NCA are; Derby, Loughborough, Tamworth, Burton-Upon-Trent and Long Eaton. The total estimated population for this NCA (derived from ONS 2001 census data) is: 327,403 (Trent Valley Nowhlands Countryside Character Area Description, Countryside Quality Counts, 2003).

Local vernacular and building materials

Red brick and plain clay tiles are the typical building material in this area. Sandstone or other stones have been imported for building major structures such as churches (Trent Valley Nowhlands Countryside Character Area Description, Countryside Quality Counts, 2003).

Settlement and development patterns map for NCA69

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Key historic sites and features section contains a map

Note that numbers and figures in the body of the text are based on the 2014 profiles, unless otherwise stated. The maps contain live frequently updated datasets.

Origin of historic features

Evidence of Anglo-Saxon cemeteries has been found along the Trent Valley dating from the 5th and 6th centuries. The castle at Tamworth Now built following the Norman Conquest. Shardlow, now a large village, Now once a busy terminal port where the Trent and Mersey Canal joins the River Trent. Local coalfields of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, together with the transport network of canals and railways led to the rapid growth of the textile and engineering industries in the 18th and 19th centuries. This growth influenced settlements within the Nowhlands. The quantity of water available and the plentiful supply of coal led to the construction of several coal-fired power stations along the rivers; most have since been demolished. Ratcliffe-upon-Soar is the only one currently in operation. A new gas-fired power station is planned at Willington and the remaining cooling towers will be demolished (Countryside Quality Counts Draft Historic Profile, Countryside Character Area Description).

Designated historic assets

The NCA includes the following designated historic assets (Historic England, National Heritage List for England, 2021):

Listed buildings

The NCA includes the following listed buildings (Historic England, National Heritage List for England, 2021):

Heritage at Risk Register

The NCA includes the following designated historic assets listed within the Heritage at Risk Register (Historic England, Heritage at Risk Register, 2023):



Key historic sites and features map for NCA69

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Recreation and access section contains a map

Note that numbers and figures in the body of the text are based on the 2014 profiles, unless otherwise stated. The maps contain live frequently updated datasets.

Public access
The following areas of public access for recreation are located within this NCA (Natural England, 2021; National Trust, 2021):


Please note: Public access areas may overlap.
The following linear routes or public access for recreation are located within this NCA (Natural England, 2021; Sustrans; 2021):

Recreation and access map for NCA69

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Experiential qualities

Note that numbers and figures in the body of the text are based on the 2014 profiles, unless otherwise stated.

Tranquillity

Based on the CPRE map of tranquillity (2006) the least tranquil areas are found around the urban areas of Derby, Loughborough, Tamworth, Burton-upon-Trent and Long Eaton. This NCA is in one of the least tranquil areas of the country.

A breakdown of tranquillity values for this NCA are detailed in the table below (CPRE, Tranquillity Map, 2006):

Dark skies

Light pollution is a generic term referring to artificial light that shines where it is neither wanted nor needed, and can impact on people’s experience of the countryside within the NCAs. CPRE host an interactive map, depicting the light pollution and dark skies within the NCA.

Intrusion

The 2007 Intrusion Map (CPRE) shows the extent to which rural landscapes are ‘intruded on’ from urban development, noise (primarily traffic noise), and other sources of visual and auditory intrusion. This shows that this is a very disturbed area especially across the valley floor and along the numerous major roads such as the M42, M1, A38, A52.

A breakdown of intrusion values for this NCA is detailed in the table below (CPRE, Intrusion Map, 2007):

Notable trends from the 1960s to 2007 are an overall increase in the area of disturbed land, and a further decrease in the amount of land considered as being undisturbed.