Historic Landscape Characterisation

In order to record and understand the wider historic landscape of the county, Devon County Council and English Heritage have undertaken a Historic Landscape Characterisation project for the county. This has been supported by the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and by the Dartmoor National Park Authority.

Historic Landscape Characterisation is a method for understanding and mapping the landscape that we see today with reference to its historical development. The Devon project has used digital mapping, which means that the results can be updated in the light of future research.

The whole of the historic county of Devon has been included, apart from Exmoor National Park. For the Somerset and Exmoor National Park Historic Landscape Characterisation Project 1999-2000 contact the South West Heritage Trust.

Historic Landscape Characterisation maps

Maps of the Historic Landscape Characterisation can be accessed from this website.

View Historic Landscape Characterisation maps >>

These views include four views of Devon’s Historic Landscape Character:

  • Modern  A characterisation of the landscape of Devon based on what we see today.
  • Post-Medieval  A characterisation of the landscape of Devon as it was in the late 19th Century, before many modern developments.
  • Field Boundary Loss  A representation of the difference in the number of fields that there were in the late 19th Century compared to the present day
  • Raw data  This shows the raw data used to construct the Historic Landscape Characterisation.

The Report and Datasets

The Devon report and map datasets are archived with the Archaeology Data Service. They can be viewed or downloaded from the ads website.

The Somerset report and map datasets are also available from the ads website.

Further Reading

Aldred, O. & Fairclough, G. 2003. Historic Landscape Characterisation: Taking Stock of the Method. (London: English Heritage / Somerset County Council).

Clark, J., Darlington, J. & Fairclough, G. 2004. Using Historic Landscape Characterisation (London: English Heritage / Lancashire County Council)

Devon County Council, 2002. The Devon Landscape: An Appraisal of Devon’s Landscape at the Beginning of the 21st Century (Devon Books)

Fairclough, G., Lambrick, G. & McNab, G. (eds.) 1999. Yesterday’s World, Tomorrow’s Landscape: the English Heritage Landscape Project 1992-94 (London: English Heritage)

Fox, H. 1991. ‘Farming practice and techniques: Devon and Cornwall’ in Miller, E. (ed.), The Agrarian History of England and Wales, Vol. III, 1348-1500 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp.303-323

Gerrard, S. 1997. Dartmoor (London: Batsford/English Heritage)

Griffith, F. 1988. Devon’s Past: An Aerial View (Devon Books)

Kain, R. & Ravenhill, W. (eds.) 1999. Historical Atlas of South-West England (Exeter: University of Exeter Press)

Riley, H. & Wilson-North, R. 2001. The Field Archaeology of Exmoor (London: English Heritage)