National Character Area 37

Yorkshire Southern Pennine Fringe - 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: Protect and manage the rich industrial heritage – including historical settlement patterns and local vernacular styles, as well as the industrial and municipal buildings that were built with wealth when the industry thrived, such as the World Heritage Site at Saltaire – which links the history of the area to the landscape features, to enhance sense of place and history and inspire local communities through increased access and recreation opportunities.

For example by:

  • Managing and maintaining historic parklands, to retain their character and promote new opportunities for access, recreation and interpretation at these sites where appropriate.
  • Conserving the old pack-horse and trading routes that linked settlements across the Pennines, to provide recreation and access for people and a link to these historical assets through appropriate interpretation.
  • Retaining evidence of mills, factories and forges associated with the iron, steel and woollen industries from early small-scale stages to the large industrial-scale works, and providing access and interpretation where possible.
  • Strengthening local sense of place through connection to past industrial heritage, for example through recognising that the suitability of the land for sheep rearing combined with numerous watercourses led to the development of the woollen and textile industry in the north of the NCA, while in the south-west of Sheffield the fast-flowing streams and reserves of iron led to the development of the steel and cutlery industry.
  • Restoring key structures, in particular tall mill chimneys where they function as focal points within a valley, to retain historical evidence.
  • Using appropriate materials, especially local stone, when converting historical buildings to other uses, to maintain visual unity.
  • Managing and conserving the World Heritage Site at Saltaire, to provide an international site of importance for explaining the history of the area.
  • Encouraging imaginative interpretation to reveal the strong links between the landscape, in particular the underlying geology and the industries of the area, from the woollen industry in the north to the iron and steel industries around Sheffield.
  • Providing interpretation of other key structures such as the reservoirs, to make the links between landscape, geology and history.
  • Using local sandstone for new, restored and converted buildings, and restoring traditional farm buildings, incorporating local styles and building techniques.
  • Respecting the distinct character of the historic towns and ensuring that new development respects that character and settlement form, for example the linear pattern of development within the valleys to the north, with associated mill cottages, and the more industrial settlements that grew up around Sheffield and Halifax. Retain the open countryside between settlements.
  • Identifying and protecting the remnants of bronze-age and Roman habitation on elevated land.


SEO 2: Manage flood plains and wetland habitats to regulate water flow and availability, and to enhance water quality and biodiversity. Increase the river and riparian habitat networks, for example along the Calder, the Don and the Colne in the north and along the Sheaf, the Rivelin and the Loxley in the south, and ensure good linkages with the networks of woodland and semi-natural habitats for the species they support and to improve the resilience of these habitats to climate change.

For example by:

  • Restoring natural river dynamics and profiles where possible, enabling more active geomorphological processes such as the creation of meanders.
  • Extending flood plains to store floodwaters, in particular along the Calder, the Colne and its tributaries around Huddersfield, and the Don, and restoring and creating riparian habitats such as emergent vegetation, wet pastures, reedbeds, marsh and wet woodlands that will reduce peak flow rates and help to improve water quality.
  • Seeking opportunities to create and link wetland habitats, including wet woodlands and grasslands along river corridors. Introduce riparian
    trees and wet woodland along watercourses, but avoid long, continuous stretches of tree cover.
  • Seeking opportunities to slow river flows by planting flood plain woodland.
  • Encouraging low-input grassland management and extensive grazing regimes, along with permanent grass buffer zones, to reduce water pollution and sediment run-off.
  • Restoring and creating lowland meadows within valleys, linking and buffering existing habitat patches to create a permeable network through the landscape that will help species to adapt to climate change and aid in water quality and flow regulation.
  • Minimising development on the flood plain where possible, to allow more space to deal with floodwater more naturally.
  • Promoting efficient use of water in agriculture and industry to reduce need for abstraction, such as grey water use on industrial sites and infield ponds on farms.
  • Extending and linking native broadleaved woodland, particularly on steep valley sides and in cloughs and gills, to absorb water, thereby reducing flood issues and binding the soil to reduce erosion and to enhance water quality.
  • Restoring Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS) and encouraging appropriate management of PAWS and ancient semi-natural woodlands.
  • Creating areas of semi-natural habitats and managing water flow to increase water recharge of aquifers and reservoirs, to maintain adequate water supply and to help to address the problem of increased rainfall as a result of climate change.


SEO 3: Protect the distinctive landscape character with its contrasts between open pastures on hill tops, woodland on valley sides and the settlements nestled in the valley bottoms. Manage the arable and pastoral farmland and the areas of woodland to improve their contribution to biodiversity, food provision and landscape character, to improve soil and water quality, and reduce soil erosion.

For example by:

  • Conserving areas of upland heath, creating new habitat next to these areas to buffer and extend them. Encourage appropriate management of upland heath habitat to support wildlife.
  • Seeking opportunities to manage pastures to increase their species richness and create mosaics of grassland habitats, providing variation in structure, hydrology, texture and species richness, to offer feeding, breeding and refuge sites for birds such as lapwing, redshank, curlew, snipe, yellow wagtail and twite, especially in the west, alongside the SPA.
  • Maintaining permanent pastures and introducing extensive or variable grazing regimes with low inputs of fertilisers to improve soil structure and water infiltration.
  • Maintaining and restoring drystone walls, especially where they form clear historical patterns and/or are widely visible.
  • Maintaining and managing hedgerows on lower land where they are the typical form of field boundary and where they can help to reduce soil erosion.
  • Introducing a wider range of semi-natural habitats in arable areas, in particular permanent grassland margins, and linking them to existing areas of lowland meadow and to the wider species-rich grassland resource where possible. This will help to deliver improvements in soil quality and reduce soil erosion.
  • Encouraging arable options such as conservation headlands and pollen and nectar swards that will support farmland birds and provide structural diversity and food sources for pollinating insects.
  • Encouraging the creation of grass buffer strips alongside watercourses to reduce soil erosion and water pollution.
  • Identifying opportunities for educational access to farms, to enable local urban populations to understand farming practices and enjoy access to the open air and countryside.
  • Maintaining the open character of the high plateaux in the west to allow retention of long views over the eastern edges of the NCA and beyond and the sense of isolation and tranquillity.
  • Maintaining the character of individual settlements by managing the rural land surrounding cities and towns, to retain the wild and open sense of place and the juxtaposition between urban and rural.
  • Promoting sustainable food provision in the NCA to increase production, while reducing impacts on other ecosystem services.
  • Managing existing woodland to ensure the long-term survival of wood of mixed age groups and the increased production of wood fuel and timber.
  • Replacing non-native species with native broadleaved species where the primary interest is improving biodiversity and contributing to landscape character.
  • Bringing attention to archaeological and historical features of woodland such as internal banks to organise coppicing, bell pits and charcoal-burning platforms.


SEO 4: Plan to optimise opportunities for access to the natural environment for the large urban populations in the area, making the most of key landscape features to redefine sense of place in the changing landscape and encouraging implementation of well-designed and managed green infrastructure, sustainable urban drainage systems and good use of planting to screen urban edges.

For example by:

  • Maintaining access to the natural environment through links to the footpath network, and promoting new links to the Trans Pennine Trail and the Calderdale Way long-distance routes.
  • Promoting the use of canals and disused railways as linear access routes that can open up access to the wider countryside while also providing a link to historical interest and improving biodiversity.
  • Ensuring that the dramatic views are retained both from hill tops into and across the urban areas, and from urban areas out into the countryside.
  • Improving access to open geological landform and exposures to provide interpretation of their role in the history of the area, for example at disused quarries, making the link between extraction of minerals and the prevalence of industrial development in the area.
  • Encouraging increased access to farms and rural estates, parks and gardens, as appropriate.
  • Ensuring that existing urban areas and new residential development contains well-designed and managed green infrastructure to provide a range of access experiences, taking into account the different cultural needs, abilities and interests of the local urban populations.
  • Ensuring that all new development addresses sustainability, through keeping impervious surfaces to a minimum and including sustainable drainage systems that incorporate more permeable surfaces, greenspace and swales, to improve water infiltration and hold back run-off.
  • Protecting the role of the greenbelt in retaining settlement distinction and the urban and rural mosaic feature of the NCA, and encouraging use of planting and biomass to screen urban edges.
  • Managing horse and pony grazing to reduce soil compaction and erosion and the degradation of pasture land.

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