The landscape of Wales is a vital resource for social, economic and environmental wellbeing. It is also historic — shaped by human activity and rich in evidence of the past. To recognise the value of historic landscapes, and raise awareness of their importance, Cadw, in partnership with the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS UK), has compiled a Register of Landscape of Historic Interest in Wales. In two volumes, it identifies 58 landscapes of outstanding or special historic interest, which are considered to be the best examples of different types of historic landscapes in Wales. However, the selection of areas for this Register does not reduce the importance of the rest of Wales’s rich landscape inheritance.
The Register provides information to decision makers and landscape managers, to help ensure that the historic character of the landscape is sustained, and that where change is contemplated, it is well-informed. A good practice guide explains how the Register should be used in assessing the effect of major developments on the historic landscape.
Historic Landscape Characterisation
Characterisation takes a closer look at the historic landscape by showing the processes that have shaped the landscape over centuries of human activity, contributing to its present character. Detailed characterisation studies have been compiled by the four Welsh Archaeological Trusts for all 58 areas on the Register. These studies are available on the Welsh Archaeological Trusts’ websites. They are a good source of information about landscape history, and are used by local government and developers to help assess the impact of development proposals on the historic landscape.