Brecks’ unique character revealed in key study

PUBLISHED: 09:15 13 March 2014 | UPDATED: 09:15 13 March 2014

The Brecks. Photo: Nick Ford.

The Brecks. Photo: Nick Ford.


The unique character of one of our region’s most richly diverse areas has been laid out in a report designed to protect it from damaging development.

Knettishall. Photo: Nick Ford Knettishall. Photo: Nick Ford

A Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) has been produced to identify what makes the 1,000 sq km of the Brecks, which stretches over Norfolk and Suffolk, “special and distinctive”.

The study was commissioned by the Brecks Partnership’s Breaking New Ground project and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils.

Produced by landscape consultants, Sheils Flynn, it is hoped the study will give planners and the public a greater understanding of the area and build a “sense of place”.

Kate Collins, director at Sheils Flynn, said the brief for the study had two main aims.

“We were trying to express what it is about the Brecks that is distinctive and makes it different to the areas around it.

“People hear the name and see the signs but don’t necessarily know what is there.

“The other side was trying to then show that to people through the report and pictures,” she said.

She added that the process had revealed some surprising details.

“I suppose I had a typical understanding of the Brecks and to learn about the history and its importance in pre-historic times was very revealing.

“The biggest surprise was the river valleys, which are very secretive and very special,” she said.

The LCA defines eight distinct character areas for the Brecks: arable heathland; plantation; low chalk farmland; rolling clay farmland; plateau estate farmland; settledfen; river valleys; and chalk river valley.

Each area has then been assessed for how capable it is of accommodating change on a physical and visual level and what its landscape value is. The landscape value takes into account factors such as biodiversity, heritage and possibly literary or artistic importance.

The assessment includes guidance on land management decision within each area.

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